LAHORE - Featuring in only the sixth Test of his career, opener Abdullah Shafique produced an innings for the ages to spearhead Pakistan’s record setting 342-run chase as the Babar Azam-led side completed a four-wicket victory on the fifth and final day of the first Test of the ICC World Test Championship match against Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium on Wednesday.

According to information made available here, Pakistan comfortably beat the previous highest chase at Galle - Sri Lanka’s 268 (2019) against New Zealand to set a new venue record of 344. Pakistan have now chased down four 300 plus scores in their Test history, three of the chases have been against Sri Lanka with the 377 for three at Pallekele in 2015, the highest. Abdullah’s heroic knock is now the second highest for Pakistan in a fourth innings chase behind Younis Khan’s 171 not out at Pallekele.

Resuming at the overnight score of 222 for three, the pair of Abdullah and Mohammad Rizwan survived some anxious moments in the first hour of play. Both batters were challenged by the wearing pitch, probing bowling and enthusiastic Sri Lankan bowlers and fielders who were ready to appeal whenever the ball hit the pad or was caught by a close-in fielder. Sri Lanka burned their two remaining reviews in their desperate search of a wicket.  Both batters however kept chipping away at the target with smart rotation of strike and the odd boundary. Pakistan progressed to 276 when Rizwan was eventually dislodged by Jayasuria for a resolute 40 off 74 balls (two fours). Rizwan and Abdullah added 71 vital runs for the fourth-wicket.

https://www.nation.com.pk/05-Oct-2022/gold-bounces-back-in-pakistan-as-price-rises-by-over-1-percent

Debutant Salman Ali Agha perished on the stroke of lunch for 12 with Pakistan placed at 298 for five, 44 runs shy of the target. Abdullah was joined by Hasan Ali post-lunch as Pakistan pursued quick runs, Hasan (5) though fell to Dhananjaya de Silva while attempting a big hit, Pakistan were then 39 runs short of the target.

Mohammad Nawaz (19 not out) provided solid support to Abdullah who benefited from a dropped chance by Kasun Rajitha at mid-wicket shortly after crossing the 150-mark. With victory in sight, the Abdullah-Nawaz pair’s progress was interrupted by nearly an hour-long rain break. Pakistan were 11 runs away from victory at that stage.

When play resumed, Abdullah and Nawaz completed the task with ease with Abdullah hitting the winning boundary through the covers. Abdullah’s monumental innings which will go down in Test history as one of the best-ever in the fourth innings, was compiled of 408 balls and included seven fours and one six. The second Test will be played at the same venue from Sunday, 24 July.

Scores in brief

PAKISTAN 218 (Babar 119, Jayasuriya 5-82) and 344 for 6 (Shafique 160*, Babar 55, Jayasuriya 4-135) beat SRI LANKA 222 (Chandimal 76, Shaheen 4-58) and 337 (Chandimal 94*, Kusal Mendis 76, Oshada 64, Nawaz 3-88) by four wickets.