Pakistan pulled off a resounding 4-wicket record win against Sri Lanka in the first Test of the World Test Championship chasing a massive target of 342 brilliantly rounded off by opening batsman Abdullah Shafique who carried his bat to the finishing post on an unbeaten 160 that he converted with aplomb from an overnight 112 at the Galle International Stadium today. It was all over just past 2.40 p.m. with Shafique completing the finishing honours hitting the winning boundary off Prabath Jayasuriya through the covers.
Pakistan had some anxious rain hit moments like on a tread mill when they had to get the final 44 runs post-lunch that was haunted by a rain break still 11 short of victory. They did lose three quick wickets including Mohammad Rizwan for 40 leg before wicket to Prabath Jayasuriya. But Sri Lanka would be ruing some poor fielding that let Shafique off the hook twice in the morning session when Dhananjaya de Silva failed to latch on to a return catch and Kasun Rajitha dropped a lollypop catch off him at deep square leg with Pakistan 19 short of victory.
Overly it was a phenomenal victory chase on a wicket that has been historically spin friendly and that was underscored by the sensational bowling of Prabath Jayasuriya by his first innings returns of 5 for 82 best accentuated when he had Pakistan on the ropes at a perilous 7 for 85 which was staved off by Pakistan skipper Babar Azam’s fighting 119 to evening up on 218 and just 4 behind Sri Lanka’s 222.
But that Sri Lanka did swing the match in its favour was underlined by the 337 second innings total that looked adequate on a tricky Galle track. That Pakistan ultimately rose above those odds to achieving victory was indeed praiseworthy on the merits of some resolute batting showcased by Shafique’s Player of the Match 160 off 408 balls and consuming 524 minutes in workmanlike style of progressively dulling the Lankan attack content on just 7 boundaries and a six where occupation of the crease was the cornerstone to getting his side home. Skipper Babar Azam’s second innings 55-run contribution was also a lending atom to it.
Sri Lanka 222 (Dinesh Chandimal 86 Shaheen Shah Afridi 4/58)
And 337 (Dinesh Chandimal n.o. 94 Kusal Mendis 76 Oshada Fernando 64 Mohammad Nawaz 5/88 Yasir Shah 3/122)
Pakistan 218 (Babar Azam 119 Prabath Jayasuriya 5/82)
And 344/6 (127.2 Overs) (Abdullah Shafique n.o. 160 Babar Azam 55 Mohammad Rizwan 40 Imam-ul-Haq 35 Prabath Jayasuriya 4/135)