Extraordinary is probably the most fitting word for three international matches that ended in a span of 24 hours.
Pakistan managed to beat Australia at their own backyard after a span of 12 years on Sunday. Later, India chased down a target of 350 plus in an ODI courtesy Virat Kohli (once again) and Kedar Jadhav. And New Zealand completed a remarkable turnaround on Monday as they went on to win the Wellington Test despite Bangladesh scoring a record 595/8 in the first innings.
Over to Melbourne.
The remarkable started with the match at MCG, a venue where Pakistan never won an ODI since 1995. And to make matters worst, they lost their captain and best batsman Azhar Ali to an injury. An under-performing/uninspiring Mohammad Hafeez was made lead the team. But Pakistan did what Pakistan does the best. Surprise everybody. Backed by a buoyant crowd at the stadium, they went on to make some sort of history. Australia, who never had any problems with Pakistan’s spinners in the entire tour, had a tough time dealing with Imad Wasim and Hafeez. A total of 220 was an underwhelming one but Pakistan is prone to collapse. Except this time though. Hafeez had a thing or two to prove. He made a valiant 72 while Shoaib Malik ensured his team cross the line in 47.4 overs with six wickets to spare. Extraordinary!
— Gaurav Kalra (@gauravkalra75) January 15, 2017
— Taimoor Zaman (@taimoorz1) January 15, 2017
Let’s shift the focus to Pune.
England’s ODI team is not the same since 2015 World Cup. The transformation is similar to the one from Tony Stark to Iron Man. Plenty of ammunition under the armour. So much so that they went on to post the highest ever ODI score against Sri Lanka. India got the first taste of this new England on Sunday. Cracking half-centuries from Jason Roy, Joe Root and Ben Stokes propelled them to 350. India lost four wickets in the chase under just 12 overs. England did everything right up until that time, except for removing a certain Virat Kohli. The Chase Master along with the rookie Kedar Jadhav produced a sensational batting display that saw India chase the 350 plus target for the third time in ODIs. In a way, this is the first time England got the taste of the new Kohli. The visitors lost the match with 11 balls balls to spare. Extraordinary!
Kane Williamson's numbers when chasing in home Tests are phenomenal.
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) January 16, 2017
Moving on to the Wellington Test.
The first Test started with a bang and for all the right reasons. The forever obscure Bangladesh made waves by making their highest ever total in the Test arena. A sensational 217 from the ever-reliant Shakib Al Hasan and a superb 159 from Mushfiqur Rahim pushed Bangladesh to 595. In reply, New Zealand came close with a total of 539, and it seemed very apparent that the Test is heading for a draw. Enter Day Five. Things went downhill for Bangladesh in no time. Rahim was hit on the back of the helmet and had to be taken to hospital. Opener Imrul Keyes, who was retired hurt on the fourth day, had to come and bat. They kept losing wickets. And finally were bowled out for 160. Needing 217 in 57 overs, New Zealand won the game in just 39.4 overs, thanks to a quickfire century from Kane Williamson. No team has ever lost a Test match scoring that many runs in the first innings. Extraordinary!