LAHORE-Pakistan seized control on the first day of the second Test match against Sri Lanka at Colombo’s Sinhalese Sports Club Ground. Key contributions from Abdullah Shafique and Shan Masood, along with a powerful performance by bowlers Abrar Ahmed and Naseem Shah, put the visitors in a commanding position.
At the close of the first day’s play, Pakistan confidently reached a score of 145/2 in 28.3 overs, still trailing Sri Lanka by 21 runs. Abdullah Shafique remained unbeaten on an impressive 74, while captain Babar Azam joined him on 8 not out. Having limited Sri Lanka to a modest 166 runs earlier in the day, Pakistan’s batters displayed great promise as they aimed to build a substantial lead over the hosts.
Sri Lanka’s start appeared promising when Asitha Fernando dismissed Imam-ul-Haq early on, but it was Abdullah Shafique and Shan Masood, who dashed their hopes with an exceptional partnership of 108 runs. Just after Shan completed his half-century, Fernando struck again, but Babar Azam took the crease to steady the ship.
Abdullah had a nervy moment towards the end of the day when an LBW appeal by Prabath Jayasuriya initially gave him out. However, a wise review revealed that the ball would have missed the stumps, allowing him to continue his impressive innings.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka’s batting line-up struggled against Pakistan’s formidable bowling attack. Openers Nishan Madushka and Dimuth Karunaratne failed to deliver the start their team needed. A mix-up between them led to Madushka’s run-out, and the hosts found themselves in trouble at 36/4.
Naseem Shah wreaked havoc early on, but Dhananjaya and Chandimal tried to stabilize the innings with an 85-run partnership. However, Naseem returned to dismiss Chandimal, disrupting their resistance. The rest of the Sri Lankan batters struggled to make a significant impact, while Abrar shone in the latter part of the day with a fantastic four-wicket haul.