In a crucial must-win match against Pakistan at the R Premadasa Stadium, Sri Lanka asserted their dominance early on. They successfully limited the visitors to 88/2 after 20 overs in a rain-affected contest.
Pramod Madushan removed the struggling Fakhar Zaman in the fifth over, but the pivotal moment for the home team arrived in the 16th over when Dunith Wellalage dismissed the world’s top-ranked batter, Babar Azam.
Babar looked in sublime form with a score of 29 when the left-arm spinner delivered a full ball targeting the stumps on the last ball of his over. As Babar moved forward to defend the delivery, the Kookaburra gripped the surface and sharply turned, narrowly missing the outside edge before settling into the wicket-keeper’s gloves.
Kusal Mendis swiftly removed the bails and fervently appealed, exuding confidence that he had done the job, even as the umpire referred the decision to the third umpire. Replays affirmed the Lions’ suspicion, as an off-balanced Babar had to lift his back leg to maintain his balance, sealing his dismissal.
Wellalage understandably celebrated with great enthusiasm, given that Babar boasts an impressive ODI average of nearly 60. Notably, he had previously claimed the wicket of Steve Smith in his career and recorded a five-wicket haul against India, which included dismissing Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. Twitterati lavishly praised the 20-year-old’s remarkable achievements.