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July 18, 2023
Pakistan recovers to 221/5 in reply to Sri Lanka’s 312

Sri Lanka Cricket


By Srian Obeyesekere

The first test was on an even keel with Pakistan on 221 for 5 wickets in reply to Sri Lanka’s 312 on an eventful second day highlighted by the host team’s vice captain Dhananjaya de Silva going on to score 122 for his tenth test century before the visitors recovered from a shaky 101 for 5 following an unfinished 120-run sixth-wicket partnership between Saud Shakeel who was on 69 and Agha Salman 61 after leg spinner Prabath Jayasuriya had struck on a tricky surface claiming 3 for 83 including the prize wicket of Pakistan skipper Babar Azam for 13 at the Galle International Stadium on Monday.

Jayasuriy removed opener Abdullah Shafique for 19 off the second ball of the eleventh over after pacer Kasun Rajitha had triggered the collapse when he had co-opener Imam-ul-Haq caught by substitute fielder Kamindu Mendis for 1 off the final delivery of his first over and the second of the Pakistani innings. At that stage Pakistan was on 3 for 1. Jayasuriya then reduced Pakistan to 47 for 2 when he foxed Shafique by the extra turn as the batsman lurched on the front foot on the defensive edging the delivery to Dhananjaya de Silva at first slip. The Lankans continued to attack claiming two more quick wickets when Ramesh Mendis trapped  Shah Masood leg before wicket for 39 ending a quick fire innings as the pivotal No.3 batsman  tried to hit his way out of trouble.


Jayasuriya then produced the trump card delivery for the prize wicket of Pakistan skipper Babar Azam playing defensively and was deceived by the length of a delivery that spun in taking the inside edge as Samarawickrama at short leg took a lollypop catch. Pakistan had slipped to 4 for 73 by the fourth delivery of the fifteenth over and 28 deliveries later further reduced to 101 by the second ball of the 20th over when Jayasuriya claimed his third wicket trapping Sarfaraz Ahmed leg before wicket by a floater that rapped Sarfaraz Ahmed plumb leg before wicket as the batsman  attempted to sweep. Pakistan 101 for 5 after 20.2, but when it looked like Sri Lanka was on course to clean up the innings, a Pakistan recovery  through the sixth-wicket pair of Saud Shakeel and Agha Salman brought the visitors back into the game with both batsmen unfazed by the situation playing forcefully. Shakeel’s 69 had come off 88 balls and contained 5 boundaries while Salman, who has a test century to his credit from seven appearances of all-round standing, was on 61 off 84 filled with 6 boundaries and a six as Pakistan trailed by 91 runs.

The early part of the day of course belonged to Dhananjaya de Silva as the stoic right-hander patiently  brought up his tenth test century with Ramesh Mendis lending anchor support plodding to 5 off 40 before Abrar Ahmed had him caught by Babar Azam. However, De Silva continued his marathon 214-ball innings that began on day one with Sri Lanka on 54 for 4, in calm approach going on to add a further 41 runs and three more boundaries to his overnight 9 who was ninth out with the score 283. The bowler was Naseem Shah who had him caught by Shah Masood. But the Lankan tail did wag with the last wicket pair of Vishwa Fernando 21 off 28 inclusive of two boundaries and a six, and Kasun Rajitha 8 off 24 with the solitary boundary adding 29 with Abrar ending it having Rajitha caught by Shafique.


Sri Lanka 312 (95.2 Overs)

(Dhananjaya de Silva 122, Angelo Mathews 64, Sadeera Samarawickrama 36, Dimuth Karunaratne 29,  Vishwa Fernando not out 21, Abrar Ahmed 3/68, Shaheen Shah Afridi 3/86, Naseem Shah 3/90, Agha Salman 1/18)

Pakistan 221/5 (45 Overs)

(Saud Shakeel  n.o. 69, Agha Salman n.o. 61, Shan Masood 39, Sarfaraz Ahmed 17,  Babar Azam 13, Prabath Jayasuriya 3/83, Kasun Rajitha 1/33, Ramesh Mendis 1/63)

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