Shaheen-inspired Pakistan restrict Sri Lanka to 222

LAHORE - Pakistan made a promising start to the first of the two ICC World Test Championship matches against Sri Lanka by bowling out the hosts for 222 runs in their first innings on day-one at the Galle International Stadium on Saturday.

Star left-armer Shaheen Shah Afridi took four wickets in the Sri Lankan innings to give Pakistan the upper hand at the close of play. When stumps were drawn for the day, Pakistan had lost their openers Imam-ul-Haq (2) and Abdullah Shafique (13), the tourists finished at 24 for two (18 overs). Pakistan will begin day-two on Sunday 198 runs short of Sri Lanka’s total with eight first innings wickets in hand.

Earlier, Pakistan bowlers made early inroads after Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat first. Prolific new-ball bowler Shaheen accounted for Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne (1) in the third over of the day.

From 60 for one, the hosts slipped to 60 for three as Kusal Mendis (21) and opener Oshada Fernando (35) were dismissed in a space of three balls by leg-spinner Yasir Shah and Hasan Ali respectively. Yasir, appearing in his first Test for Pakistan in more than 11 months then took the prized wicket of former captain Angelo Mathews (0) as Sri Lanka took lunch at 80 for four.

Shaheen made two quick breakthroughs post lunch dismissing Dhananjaya de Silva (14) and wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella (4) to leave the home side tottering at 103 for six. Seasoned campaigner Dinesh Chandimal who scored a double century in Sri Lanka’s innings win over Australia at the same venue last week, held the innings together as wickets continued to tumble at the other end.  The right-hander completed his fifty in the post lunch session. Following Shaheen’s burst, left-arm-spinner Mohammad Nawaz and pacer Naseem Shah took a wicket apiece as Sri Lanka took tea at 166 for eight (52 overs).

Chandimal fell after the tea interval for a typically stylish 76 (115 balls, 10 fours, one six), Hasan got the important wicket for his team with Yasir taking a brilliant diving catch in the covers to end the batter’s resistance.

The tenth-wicket pair of MaheeshTheekshana (38) and Kasun Rajitha added 45 runs before Theekshana was dismissed by Shaheen with wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan taking his fourth catch of the innings. Shaheen was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers with four for 58, Hasan and Yasir picked two wickets apiece for 23 and 66 runs respectively.

Scores in brief

SRI LANKA 222 all out, 66.1 overs (Dinesh Chandimal 76, MaheeshTheekshana 38; Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-58, Hasan Ali 2-23) vs PAKISTAN 24 for 2, 18 overs.

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