Azhar Ali will perhaps never forget the day three of the ongoing second Test between Pakistan and Australia in Abu Dhabi at least for the coming few days. And the reason is not because he regained his form with a fine fifty but because of the way his knock ended.
Azhar Ali was batting on 64 when a run-out brought an end to his knock. It was one of the most comical run-out the game has ever witnessed.
The incident occurred in the 53rd over. After edging Peter Siddle through gully, Azhar thought that the ball has crossed the fence. Consequently, he and his batting Asad Shafiq gathered in the middle of the pitch for a chat. However, the ball had stopped just inches away from the boundary ropes. And amidst all this, Mitchell Starc ran to the third-man region and threw the ball back to his captain Tim Paine who whipped off the bails with ease as both the batsmen stood in the middle.
Speaking at the end of the day’s play, Ali opened up on the bizarre dismissal.
“Both of us did not realize that the ball has stopped before the boundary rope. We didn’t even see anybody running to fetch the ball. When he [Starc] threw the ball from the boundary, we thought that he is just casually throwing back the ball. When the keeper started to move towards the ball, there was a realization that something funny is up. Even then we weren’t sure what was happening. It was a full fledged edge against a fast-bowler and no fielder had made a contact with it on its way. But, still there is no excuse for how I easily gifted my wicket. Everyone in the dressing room also joked about it afterwards. But, at that instance, it was very shocking for everyone.
The ball had swung away from my body. It was late swing. I was just telling Asad about it [and the run out happened].
No one really came to me and said anything [in the dressing room]. Of course, they know that when such a thing happens a batsman is going through a lot. After like half an hour players and coaches came and asked what had happened. It was quite serious because we needed a partnership at that time. But, when we got partnerships later, everyone started to see a funny side to it.
No, I don’t think it was bad sportsmanship [by Australia]. I take full responsibility for it. I was a little bit ignorant. No one came in my way. No one distracted me. It is my own fault. I think they did the right thing.
I will be asked this question for a long time. Especially, when I go back home my sons will ask it in a much funnier manner. They hardest thing is they are going to speak about it for years. Whenever I will say something to them, they are going to come back to me on this run out,” he said.
Coming to the game, Pakistan are destined to win the game after ending day three very much on top. The visitors had a tough day as Babar Azam (99), Sarfraz Ahmed (81) and Azhar Ali (64) piled on the runs to set an improbable 538 for victory.
Their misery was compounded with the loss of fill-in opener Shaun Marsh for just four. Australia ended the day on 47 for 1 with Aaron Finch (24 not out) and Travis Head (17 not out) unbeaten.