Test cricket seems to be regaining its lost heritage in the last few years. One after another exciting matches is seen in this elite version of cricket. England-New Zealand series and the thrill of England’s Edgbaston Test against India were still in the eyes while Pakistan made history on the soil of Sri Lanka. Abdullah Shafique’s heroics gave Pakistan a thrilling 4-wicket win on the fifth day of the Galle Test.
The highest team innings was exactly 300 runs in the fourth innings at the International Stadium in Galle. That record was made by Pakistan as well. Sri Lanka holds the record of winning by chasing the most runs in this field. They did it against New Zealand in August 2019, they got a target of 268 runs and won by 6 wickets chasing it down. Therefore, Pakistan had to set a new record to beat the target of 342 runs given by Sri Lanka.
But when Pakistan started chasing the target on the fourth day, Abdullah Shafique might have entered the field to get a victory. The 22-year-old, who debuted a year ago against Bangladesh, has already shown his determination earlier. Besides scoring a century in the previous five Tests, he also scored four half-centuries.
At the end of the fourth day, Pakistan collected 222 runs after losing 3 wickets. The visitors needed another 120 runs on the final day to win the game. Picking up this run with seven wickets in hand was not difficult at all. The day also started in Pakistan’s way. Century scorer Shafique, along with Mohammad Rizwan, made a 71-run partnership from 146 balls to make the way to victory much easier.
Their pair got broken after adding another 54 runs to the previous day’s run. Rizwan became Prabath’s third victim after scoring 40 runs. By that time, the morning moisture on the wicket had disappeared. As a result, batting into this wicket got a bit easier for new batters.
Pakistan still needed 66 runs to win. When Pakistan quickly lost two wickets, hosts Sri Lanka got some hopes. Agha Salman scored 12 runs and returned to the dressing room off Prabath. Dhananjaya de Silva dismissed Hasan Ali for 5 runs.
However, Mohammad Nawaz, who took five wickets with the ball, accompanied Shafique to cover the rest of the way. He remained unbeaten on 19 runs off 34 balls. Pakistan was only 11 runs away from victory as the rain intervened once. When the match was stopped for almost an hour, there were fears about the victory of the visitors. But after that apprehension getting over, the game finally started and Pakistan has the last laugh.
Abdullah Shafique, who won the match for Pakistan and remained unbeaten, was named player of the match for his heroics. His marathon innings of 158 off 408 balls had 6 fours and 1 six. No other team has won by chasing a bigger target in this field.
Prabath Jayasuriya, the hero of the victory against Australia, also challenged Pakistan hard. After taking 5 wickets in the first innings, this left-arm spinner snapped up 4 wickets in the 2nd innings as well. He narrowly missed a record. No other spinner has five wickets in four consecutive innings after his debut.
Pakistan has taken a 1-0 lead in the 2-match Test series. These two teams will face each other in the second and last Test of the series in Galle on 24th July.
Sri Lanka (1st Innings) – 222/10 (66.1)
Pakistan (1st Innings) – 218/10 (90.5)
Sri Lanka (2nd Innings) – 337/10 (100.0)
Pakistan (2nd Innings) – 344/6 (127.2)
Result – Pakistan won by 4 wickets
Player of the match – Abdullah Shafique
SL vs PAK Playing XIs
|SL||Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kusal Mendis, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Ramesh Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, and Prabath Jayasuriya.|
|PAK||Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Agha Salman, Mohammad Nawaz, Imam-ul-Haq, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali, and Naseem Shah.|