SL vs PAK: Hosts fight back after Shaheen Afridi's brilliance
Pakistan put up an emphatic show during Day 1 of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle. Seamer Shaheen Afridi (4/58) was disciplined with his line and lengths. Yasir Shah and Hasan Ali found were among the wickets. For Lankans, Dinesh Chandimal cracked a valiant 76 that steered them to 222. However, Pakistan have lost two quick wickets (24/2).
Yasir had a clinical show on his return to Tests. The leg-spinner concluded with figures of 2/66 in 21 overs. He trumped a well-set Kusal Mendis (21) and made short work of Angelo Mathews (0). With that, he raced past Abdul Qadir's count in Test wickets (236). He now has the fifth-most wickets for Pakistan in Tests (237).
Chandimal, who had racked a double ton a few days back, extended his rich vein of form. He struck a four toward extra cover to record his first boundary of the innings. In 45th over, Chandimal slammed three back-to-back four off Naseem Shah to register his 22nd fifty in the format. He hit 10 fours and a six en route to his 115-ball 76.
There were a few short yet pivotal stands in the Lankan tent that sailed them past 200. Oshada Fernando and Kusal Mendis forged a 49-run stand for the second wicket. Chandimal later added a key 44 run-stand alongside Maheesh Theekshana for the ninth wicket. The latter then fetched 45 runs for the tenth wicket to stay unscathed on 38* (four fours, one six).
Shaheen put the visitors in a commanding spot right from the start. He bowled a good length delivery that got an edge off Dimuth Karunaratne (1) and crashed onto the stumps. Full length ploy got the better of Dhananjaya de Silva and Niroshan Dickwella post lunch. Theekshana departed while trying to uppercut a shorter one from the left-armer. Shaheen concluded with figures of 4/58.
Hasan Ali emerged as the partnership breaker on two occasions. He bowled an away delivery outside off which got a thick edge of a well-set Oshada (35). Later, Chandimal was tempted to drive a half volley that got him caught at covers. The right-armer finished with figures of 2/23 in 12 overs. He has raced to 76 Test scalps at 23.28.
Sri Lanka concluded Day 1 on a positive note. An angled in delivery from Kasun Rajitha got Imam-ul-Haq (2) out LBW. Sometime later, Prabath Jayasuriya's arm ball trumped an in-form Abdullah Shafique (13). Azhar Ali (3*) and Babar Azam (1*) held their guard at stumps.