Shafiq leads Pakistan’s charge against Sri Lanka
Galle: Asad Shafiq scored a century and Sarfraz Ahmed missed his by four runs as Pakistan fought back gallantly in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle today.
The pair put on 139 for the sixth wicket as the tourists, resuming at 118-5 and still 182 runs behind Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 300, moved to 390-8 by tea on the scheduled fourth day.
Shafiq was unbeaten on 115, his seventh Test century and the third in the last four matches following his 137 against New Zealand in Sharjah and 107 against Bangladesh in Dhaka.
Tailender Zulfiqar Babar proved the surprise packet, slamming a career-best 51 not out off 52 balls while adding 88 for the unbroken ninth wicket.
Babar hit six boundaries and two sixes as Pakistan’s lower order put on 294 runs for the loss of three wickets after the first five batsmen had fallen for 96 runs.
Sarfraz, a wicket-keeper who relishes a challenge with the bat, scored 96 off 86 balls in a rousing knock that was studded with 13 hits to the fence.
Sarfraz narrowly missed his fourth Test century when he ambitiously attempted to sweep a ball from seamer Dhammika Prasad that was pitched outside the off-stump and dragged the ball onto his stumps.
Sarfraz and Shafiq had joined hands on Friday evening after the fall of skipper Misbah-ul Haq’s wicket had threatened a total collapse.
Sarfraz’s latest effort followed his impressive batting during the previous series between the two teams in Sri Lanka last year when he scored 55 and 52 in the Galle Test and 103 and 55 in the next match in Colombo.
When Sarfraz reached 47, he had completed 1,000 Test runs in 28 innings to equal Imtiaz Ahmed’s record of being the fastest to the mark among Pakistan’s wicket-keepers.
When Pakistan resumed after lunch at 259-6, Shafiq was supported by Wahab Riaz (14) and Yasir Shah (23) before Babar joined hands in an entertaining partnership.
Bad weather had washed out the entire first day’s play on Wednesday and just 64 overs were bowled on the second day due to a wet outfield.
The three-Test series will be followed by five one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches.
Sri Lanka v Pakistan first Test scoreboard
Sri Lanka 1st innings: 300 (K. Silva 125, K. Sangakkara 50, Wahab Riaz 3-74, Zulfiqar Babar 3-64)
Pakistan 1st innings (overnight 118-5):
||c Karunaratne b Prasad||02|
||lbw b Prasad||09|
|Azhar Ali lbw
||c Sangakkara b Pradeep||20|
||st Chandimal b Perera||131|
||c Chandimal b Pradeep||23|
||c Vithanage b Perera||56|
Extras: (lb1, nb3, w1) 5
Total (all out, 113.1 overs) 417
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-11, 3-35, 4-86, 5-96, 6-235, 7-273, 8-302, 9-403, 10-417.
Bowling: Prasad 24-4-91-3, Pradeep 19-1-71-2, Herath 30-4-99-1, Perera 31.1-3-122-4, Mathews 6-1-12-0, Vithanage 3-0-21-0.
Sri Lanka 2nd innings:
||c Azhar b Wahab||05|
|K. Sangakkara||c Azhar b Yasir||18|
|D. Perera not out||not out||00|
Extras: (b4) 4
Total (for two wickets, 21 overs) 63
Fall of wickets: 1-18, 2-63.
Bowling: Wahab 6-3-11-1, Junaid 4-0-19-0, Yasir 7-1-21-1, Hafeez 4-1-8-0.