Pakistan chased a record target of 342 runs in the 4th innings to win the first test against Sri Lanka at
Galle. Abdulla Shafique’s unbeaten score of 160 in Pakistan’s 2nd innings was the headlining act in
the visitor’s chase as they took a 1-0 lead in the 2-match series.
Needing 120 runs to secure victory on the final day with 7 wickets in hand, Pakistan chased down the target, losing just 3 wickets on day 5.
Sri Lanka 1st innings – Bowlers restrict Sri Lanka to 222
Sri Lanka won the toss and Dimuth Karunaratne had no hesitation in batting first on a Galle pitch
that was hosting its 3rd consecutive test within a month and had a few cracks opening up on the first
day itself. The hosts did not get off to a good start as they lost their skipper in the 3rd over. Even
though the surface was dry and had no grass, Shaheen Afridi found just enough movement with the
new ball to shatter Karunaratne’s stumps with an in-swinger.
There was a decent partnership of 49 between Kusal Mendis and Oshada Fernando but Yasir Shah
put an end to it by dismissing Mendis, caught behind. Fernando didn’t last long either as Hasan Ali
accounted for the left-hander and the hosts lost both set batsmen in quick succession.
Angelo Mathews, playing his 99th test for Sri Lanka, was out without troubling the score as the hosts
slipped to 68/4. Dinesh Chandimal held fort at one end but lacked support as Sri Lanka lost wickets
at regular intervals. The hosts were reduced to 133/8 but Chandimal played a brilliant counter-
attacking innings of 78 with help from Theekshana to get Sri Lanka over 200. Shaheen Afridi was the
pick of the bowlers for the visitors with four wickets, while Yasir Shah and Hasan Ali took two
Pakistan 1st innings – A Babar Azam special rescues Pakistan
Having restricted Sri Lanka to a low total, Pakistan looked to bat their opponents out of the game
with a huge first innings total. But they had a terrible start as fast bowler Kasun Rajitha and left-arm
spinner Prabath Jayasuriya ripped through the Pakistan top-order. They slipped to 24/3 before
recovering through a 40-run partnership between the skipper and Mohhamad Rizwan.
But the Sri Lankan spinners engineered another collapse, which left the visitors reeling at 112/8.
Rizwan fell to Ramesh Mendis, while the debutant Agha Salman, Mohammed Nawaz and Shaheen
Afridi were dismissed by Jayasuriya. Babar Azam, at the other end, looked in no trouble whatsoever
on a difficult pitch as he played one of his finest test knocks. He also reached a landmark of 10,000
runs in international cricket, the fastest to do so in terms of innings.
Pakistan were all-out for 218, conceding just a 4-run lead to the hosts after it looked like Sri Lanka
would take a huge lead. Jayasuriya picked up an astonishing 5-wicket haul, his third in his first three
innings in test cricket.
Sri Lanka 2nd innings – Chandimal’s 94 pushes lead further
The pitch drastically flattened out surprisingly due to the use of heavy-rollers and run-making
became a lot easier. Karunartne fell early once again, this time off the bowling of Mohhamad Nawaz
for 16. Night-watchman Kasun Rajitha was dismissed as well when the score was 41.
Oshada Fernando and Kusal Medis once again stitched up a good partnership of 91 as they made full
use of the good batting conditions. Fernando made 64, while Mendis was dismissed for a well-made
76. Chandimal carried on from his first innings heroics and made another half-century to further
solidify the hosts; position.
Pakistan did not let the Lankans get away with the game as they chipped away with regular wickets.
Chandimal, with the help of lower-order batsmen, took Sri Lanka to 337, setting a target of 342 for
Pakistan. Chandimal was stranded on 94 at one end as Mohammad Nawaz took a five-wicket haul.
Pakistan 2nd innings – Shafique’s ton sets up Pakistan’s victory
Having chased a huge target of 377 against Sri Lanka before and with the pitch easing out quite a bit,
Pakistan were confident in the chase. They had a very important opening stand of 87 runs between
Imam and Shafique, which took them off to a flyer.
Sri Lanka fought back with two quick wickets of Imam and Azhar Ali as Pakistan were 104/2. Babar
Azam and Shafique joined at the middle and swung the game in Pakistan’s favour. Babar once again
played a captain’s knock of 55 before falling to Jayasuriya when the score was 205.
Rizwan came out with a positive intent and played a crucial knock of 40 to not allow Sri Lanka back
into the game. Although the hosts picked up a couple of wickets at the end, Shafique stayed until the
end to guide Pakistan to a famous victory.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 222 (Dinesh Chandimal 76; Shaheen Afridi 4-58) and 337 (Dinesh Chandimal
94*, Kusal Mendis 76; Mohammad Nawaz 5-88) lost to Pakistan 218 (Babar Azam 119; Prabath
Jayasuriya 5-88) and 344/6 (Abdullah Shafique 160; Prabath Jayasuriya 4-135) by four wickets