Agha Salman plays a pull on his way to a quick half-century•Jul 17, 2023• AFP/Getty Images
Despite a top-order collapse, Pakistan made a comeback in the first test against Sri Lanka
GALLE Sri Lanka (AP) The middle order of Pakistan staged an impressive comeback from an unsteady start to end Day 2 of the opening match with Sri Lanka on 221-5, being 91 runs behind on Monday.
After a century from Dhananjaya de Silva, who helped Sri Lanka post 312 in the first game, Pakistan slipped to 101-5 in the afternoon session, with the left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuriya taking three wickets at his jolly hunting ground.
It appeared the hosts would surrender a huge opening-inning lead; however, Saud Shakeel and Agha Salman responded grandly.
The team put on an unbeaten score of 120 runs for their sixth wicket using an exciting stroke-play. Thanks to the clever use of feet, they didn’t let the spinners from Sri Lanka settle down and chuck the loose balls away.
Each batter was so optimistic that Pakistan scored an average of 4.91 or an over.
The only 75 overs of the 98 scheduled could be played as the rain was a factor on Day 1. The game ended in the early hours; Shakeel was unbeaten on the tarmac for 69 deliveries and six fours. Salman was 61 not out of 84 balls and had 6 fours, including a Six.
Sri Lanka tried several bowling modifications but was unable to achieve the opening.
Shakeel, a lefty Shakeel made his debut in the test just eight months ago but is already a crucial part of the Pakistan team, scoring 100 and 6 half-centuries over six test matches.
Before that, Jayasuriya drew Abdullah Shafique onto the front foot, but an extra turn dragged the edge of the outside, and he got caught in his first slip and was penalized 19.
The arm ball was responsible for Captain Babar Azam when he was hit behind off the bat and a pad, resulting in 13, while the former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed erred in an attempt to sweep, which was later sentenced to be leg before the wicket was 17.
Shan Masood fell for 39 and Imam ul-Haq for 1.
“Saud, as well as Agha, have made small adjustments in their batting, which allowed them to score quickly and get us into an excellent place,” Masood said.
“We love playing the Galle brand of cricket that helps us beat the odds. Galle refers to a cricket wicket in which each ball has your name written. If test matches are going rapidly, it is crucial to keep up with the pace.”
Jayasuriya, The fastest Sri Lankan to 50 wickets in tests, has taken 49 in Galle in six tests.
Sri Lanka was bowled out in the final over before lunch when the game resumed at 242-6.
De Silva stroked his 10th test hundred, the third time he played Pakistan and the 3rd at Galle. In Galle, the Sri Lankan vice-captain faced 214 deliveries and struck twelve Fours and three Sixes.
“My job as team’s. 6′ is to go deep and bat with the tail when there’s an accident,” De Silva said. “That’s the way it went during this game.
“All three hundred we have scored against Pakistan were a result of collapses, and I’m able to keep up the pressure. In the end, we were around 100 runs short. If you are the winner of the toss and you bat first, you must think about scoring big and then go on and score 400.”
The pace pair Naseem Shah as well as Shaheen Afridi, as well as leg spinner Abrar Ahmed each took three wickets. However, Pakistan’s slower bowlers weren’t as neat as quickies, causing concerns about whether the tourists would be better off with another pacer.