Shafique hundred keeps Pakistan on course in big chase

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Pakistan’s Abdullah Shafique smashed his second Test hundred to put the tourists on course to accomplish a mammoth chase on day four of the opening Test against Sri Lanka in Galle on Tuesday.

Pakistan finished on 222-3 needing 120 runs to grab the lead in the two-Test series.

Sri Lanka had appeared to have the upper hand in the contest after they posted 337 in their second innings setting Pakistan a daunting target of 342.

Shafique combined with Imam-ul-Haq (35) in an opening stand of 87 and later raised 101 with skipper Babar Azam (55) in a vastly improved batting display by the tourists who were skittled out for 218 in the first innings.

Shafique’s unbeaten 112 contained five fours and a six and he had Mohammad Rizwan on seven at the other end.

However, Shafique and Imam did not look very convincing when Pakistan began their chase.

Imam was dropped at cover and had a lbw decision against him reversed, while Shafique survived a strong leg-before appeal.

Imam’s innings ended in a bizarre manner when he let go a ball from spinner Ramesh Mendis but marginally lifted his back foot in the process allowing Niroshan Dickwella to effect a lightning-fast stumping.

Sri Lanka seemed back in charge when Jayasuriya had Azhar Ali caught in the slip for six.

Babar, who smashed a century in the first innings, opened his account with a flicked four off Jayasuriya and hit the spinner over deep midwicket for a six in his next over.

Shafique took a single off Maheesh Theekshana to bring up his hundred and celebrated the milestone by kissing his helmet and embracing his captain Babar.

Jayasuriya bowled Babar around his legs in the final session though Pakistan appear to have their nose ahead in the contest.

Sri Lanka 1st innings     222 all out

Sri Lanka 2nd innings

O Fernando c Babar Azam b Yasir Shah        64

D Karunaratne lbw Mohammad Nawaz          16

K Rajitha lbw Mohammad Nawaz                    07

K Mendis b Yasir Shah                                       76

A Mathews c Babar Azam b M Nawaz                            09

D Chandimal Not Out                                         94

Dhananjaya de Silva b Yasir Shah                                  20

N Dickwella b Mohammad Nawaz                                   12

R Mendis b Mohammad Nawaz                       22

M Theekshana c M Rizwan b Hasan Ali         11

Prabath Jayasuriya b Naseem Shah                                               04

Extras (1b 0lb 1nb 0pen 0w)                                             02

Total (100.0 overs)                                337 all out

Fall of Wickets: 1-33 Karunaratne, 2-41 Rajitha, 3-132 Fernando, 4-164 Mathews, 5-178 Mendis, 6-218 de Silva, 7-235 Dickwella, 8-267 Wanigamuni, 9-308 Theekshana, 10-337 Jayasuriya

Bowling: Mohammad Nawaz 28-2-88-5, Yasir Shah 29-2-122-3, Hasan Ali 12-3-19-1, Naseem Shah 7-0-24-1

Pakistan 1st innings      218 all out

Pakistan 2nd innings

Abdullah Shafique Not Out                             112

I ul-Haq st N Dickwella b Ramesh Mendis                                                                           35

Azhar Ali c D de Silva b P Jayasuriya           06

Babar Azam b Prabath Jayasuriya                55

Mohammad Rizwan Not Out                           07

Extras (4b 3lb 0nb 0pen 0w)                           07

Total (85.0 overs)                                       222-3

Fall of Wickets: 1-87 ul-Haq, 2-104 Ali, 3-205 Azam

Bowling: Prabath Jayasuriya 34-6-87-2, Ramesh Mendis 26-0-76-1