TE24 Sports Desk:
Abdullah Shafiq scored an unbeaten 160 as Pakistan chased down a record 342 to win the opening Test against Sri Lanka by four wickets on Wednesday. Shafiq scored in the last session on the fifth day to take a 1-0 lead in two series.
Left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuriya bagged a 9-wicket match haul, but his efforts went in vain as Pakistan struggled to chase down Sri Lanka’s all-time target of 268 in 2019. The 22-year-old Shafiq was brilliant in the second Testton.
He forged a crucial partnership, including 101 for the third wicket with captain Babar Azam, who scored 55 after 119 in his first innings on a tough batting pitch.
Finally, Shafiq contacted 19-year-old Mohammad Nawaz. The team had a quick cup of tea before returning to the third game session. The
Shafiq survived three dropped catches, 70, 135 and 151, but did not get past the previous Test, 136, so he acted purely as an anchor.
Pakistan were in for some worry after Jayasuriya, who sent back talisman Azam at the end of the fourth day, attacked at lunch and dismissed debutant Salman Arriaga for 12 hours.
Hasan Alli dropped to second after advancing to hit the remaining runs in the five-second session.
Jayasuriya, who allowed 6 and 12 wickets in each innings on his debut against Australia at the same venue last week, kept the pressure on him, but Shafiq held on. Pakistan continued on 222-3, Sri Lanka soon completed the remaining two umpires’ checks, and Jayasuriya was involved in both calls.
Mohammad Liswan maintained his positive intent by opening the day’s account on the boundary in front of Ramesh Mendis. Dinesh Chandimal’s 94 unbeaten runs (consecutive fifties)
Maintained excellent form as he scored a total of 337 runs out of a partnership in two innings in Sri Lanka.
In a match that ended the comeback, Azam scored a defiant century with Pakistan’s first innings and the visitors trailed to 85-7 on day two after patiently fighting back.
The second Test will begin on Sunday after being moved from Colombo due to political unrest in Sri Lanka.