Pakistans Babar Azam celebrates his century
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam became the quickest to 14 ODI centuries reaching the milestone in 81 innings at Edgbaston, Birmingham in the third ODI against England. Azam also became the second Pakistan captain to score an ODI century on English soil. Only Imran Khan had previously hit a century in England when he registered an unbeaten 102 against Sri Lanka in World Cup 1983. This also makes Azam the first-ever Pakistan skipper to score an ODI century against England in England.
With his eighth fifty-plus score in England, Azam also broke Mohammad Yousuf and Zaheer Abbas’s record of most fifty-plus ODI scores in the format touring England. The third-wicket partnership of 179 runs between him and Mohammad Rizwan is now the highest partnership for any wicket by Pakistan against England. His 158-run knock is the highest score by a Pakistan batsman against England in ODIs. The previous best belonged to Fakhar Zaman who scored 138 in World Cup 2019.
The century came after disappointing scores in the first two ODIs of the three-ODI series against England’s second-string side led by Ben Stokes. The Eoin Morgan-led team which played limited-overs series against Sri Lanka has been in isolation after three players and four support staff members tested positive for Covid-19. It helped the visitors post 331/9 on the board.
Azam registered scores of 0 and 19 in the first and second ODI respectively. Azam’s third ODI score of 158 from 139 deliveries is also his personal best in the format. He was given two chances by England in 44th and 45th over when he was batting on 126 and 134 respectively. His record-breaking inning was laced with 14 fours and four sixes.
Azam also became the first Pakistan skipper to score a 150 in ODIs cricket. His 158 is the third-highest score as a captain in England after Kapil Dev (175*) and Glenn Turner (171*). He joined the list of elite Asian skippers as well who have scored a century in England. Apart from Mahela Jayawardene who has scored two ODI centuries in England, Imran, Dev, Sanath Jayasuriya have achieved the feat once.
Earlier Stokes won the toss and elected to bowl first on a pitch that favored the batters. Coming to bat in the fifth over, Azam played 14 dot deliveries before getting off the mark with a boundary.
This is Azam’s third ODI century in England. The first two came against England and New Zealand in World Cup 2019