Watch: Azhar Ali fell for a duck in his final Test innings, against England at Karachi. He left the field amidst applause from the England fielders and a guard of honour from his Pakistan teammates.
Azhar had scored 45 in the first innings before Ollie Robinson had him caught behind down the leg side. In the second innings, he walked out to bat on the third morning shortly after Pakistan openers Abdullah Shafique and Shan Masood had erased the first-innings deficit of 50 runs. They were ahead by three when Masood (24) was bowled, trying to reverse-sweep Jack Leach, and Azhar walked out.
Azhar defended the first three balls, but there was no swansong worth celebrating for him. The next ball – the last of Leach’s eighth over – pitched on leg and middle and spun sharply past Azhar’s bat to hit the 0ff-stump.
As Azhar walked away, the England fielders aborted their celebrations to walk up to him and shake his hand and bid him farewell, as did Shafique. Azhar stepped outside the boundary line and walked towards the pavilion, flanked by his teammates on either side who had held their bats aloft to give him a much-deserved guard of honour.
Azhar finished with 7,142 Test runs, a tally that included 19 hundreds and 35 other scores in excess of fifty (in all, a tally of 54). He ranks fifth in Pakistan’s Test history in all three counts, after Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, and Younis Khan. The quartet are also among the five Pakistanis to have played a hundred Tests (Saleem Malik being the other): Azhar missed that milestone by three matches.
Leach, who had taken 4-140 in the first innings, later trapped Shafique (26) leg-before. At the time of writing, Babar Azam and Saud Shakeel had pushed Pakistan to 91-3. They are ahead by 41.
Watch Azhar Ali’s emotional farewell:
For the final time.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) December 19, 2022