When the Pakistanis were shot out for 191 in their first innings during the second Test at Karachi, the sword of plunder was drawn out to slice Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis into pieces. Even on home-decks, Pakistan batting under Misbah fared like that in Australia. Certainly, it did not please the Pakistani fans, who have been waiting for a change since the sun of glorious days set two decades ago. To script a change is not an easy task for a nation, who failed to play in front of their home team for 10 years and thus, a generation was missed, the loss of which can’t be fulfilled so easily.

The current generation of Pakistani fans doesn’t know about the past of National Stadium Karachi, which is a happy hunting ground for the Men in Green. Until England stun Pakistan in the dark in 2000, they were unbeatable out there for almost three decades and even after that shock against England, Karachi hardly disappointed them. Certainly, she would not disappoint now as well.

Sri Lanka took a lead of 80 runs in their first innings and when Pakistan started their second innings, the fingers were crossed – you never know which Pakistan would turn out. The blessings of Karachi poured heavily on the Pakistani top and middle-order batsmen – top four smashed hundreds where one of the batsmen named Abid Ali became the first-ever Pakistani batsmen to notch-up tons in his first and second Test.

Pakistan declared at 555 for 3 and Sri Lanka had an uphill task at their hand. This Pakistan were in a different mood altogether. Their young pace attack bowled with enough pace and guile to melt down the Sri Lankan batting line-up. Two pacers – 18-year old Shaheen Shah Afridi and 16-year old Naseem Shah bagged five-fors as, under the bright sunshine, the Pakistanis returned to the pavilion with joy – nothing can match the feeling of winning a Test series in front of the home crowd and that also after 10 bloody years!

This is Karachi – a city with so many wonderful and cordial people live. A city which aids Pakistan to swell it’s economy. A city where beautiful clothes earn international accolades. A city with a great history and a city where cricket bat and smile each day. The city has given Pakistan and world cricket in plenty. Karachi can’t disappoint Pakistan by any means. It has always helped Pakistan to regain her momentum during tough times. The city has always made Pakistan smile. After so many years, the tradition has not changed – Test cricket has returned home in style.

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