Saud Shakeel shines as Pakistan defeat Sri Lanka in first Test to lead series 1-0

Saud Shakeel shines as Pakistan defeat Sri Lanka in first Test to lead series 1-0

Pakistan’s Saud Shakeel (left) celebrates after scoring double centuries (200 runs) during the third day of the first cricket Test match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on July 18, 2023. — AFP

Pakistan triumphed over Sri Lanka by four wickets on the final day of the opening Test to lead the two-match series 1-0 in Galle on Thursday, courtesy of a double ton by Saud Shakeel in the first innings.

Pakistan had resumed their run-chase of 131 runs at 48-3 with Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq on the crease.

Azam scored 24 in 28 balls, with the help of five fours, before being trapped by Prabath Jayasuriya in front of the stumps.

Shakeel also couldn’t stay at the crease till the end as he was dismissed after scoring 30 runs in 38 balls.

Imam played an impressive knock and remained unbeaten on 50 runs, which included four fours and a six.

Agha Salman smacked a six on the very first ball he faced to help Pakistan get over the line.

In the final session yesterday, Jayasuriya claimed two top-order wickets from Pakistan after dismissing Abdullah Shafique (8) and Shan Masood (7).

Meanwhile, nightwatchman Nauman Ali was run out after attempting a suicidal second run.

Sri Lanka were dismissed for 279 in their second innings on day four, which meant that Pakistan were set a target of 131 runs to win the match.

Abrar Ahmed and Nauman Ali were the chief destroyers for Pakistan after claiming three wickets each. Meanwhile, Shaheen Afridi and Agha Salman bagged two wickets each.

Dhananjaya de Silva, who scored a ton in the first innings, was the top scorer for the home side once again after notching up 82 runs.

It must be noted that Saud Shakeel notched up his maiden double century in Tests as Pakistan took a 149-run lead against Sri Lanka in the rain-hit opening match.

The visitors were bowled out for 461 in the final session on day three after a frustrating ninth-wicket partnership of 94 between Shakeel, who remained not out on 208, and Naseem Shah, who scored six off 78 balls.

Spinner Ramesh Mendis ended with a five-wicket haul, but Shakeel combined with the tailenders, including a 52-run seventh-wicket partnership with Nauman Ali, who scored 25.

But it was his 177-run partnership with Agha Salman, who hit 83, which brought Pakistan back in the game after slipping to 101-5 in their reply to Sri Lanka’s 312.

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