Pakistan ace Galle chase after Shafique masterclass

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Abdullah Shafique struck 160 not out in a fourth innings masterclass to help Pakistan pull off a stunning chase and register a four-wicket victory against Sri Lanka in the opening Test in Galle on Wednesday.

The tourists began an intriguing final day needing 120 runs with seven wickets in hand to go 1-0 ahead in the two-Test series.

Pakistan went on to accomplish their second highest successful chase of 342 riding on Shafique’s career-best knock, which included seven fours and a six.

“As a youngster, he showed his class and temperament,” Pakistan captain Babar Azam said of Shafique, whose 480-ball vigil earned him the man-of-the-match award.

Pakistan also jumped ahead of Sri Lanka in the World Test Championship standings with only South Africa (71.43%) and Australia (70%) above them.

In-form Prabath Jayasuriya was Sri Lanka’s best bet on a worn-out pitch, and the left-arm spinner, who claimed 5-82 in the first innings, began the proceedings for the hosts on the final day.

He nearly struck with the first delivery of the day which breached Mohammad Rizwan’s (40) defence, but somehow missed the stumps.

The spinner, who claimed 12 wickets in his Test debut against Australia at the same venue earlier this month, repeatedly beat the bat but had to wait for success.

Sri Lanka wasted both remaining reviews challenging not-out decisions against Shafique and Rizwan off Jayasuriya’s bowling.

Jayasuriya (4-135) finally broke the 71-run stand dismissing Rizwan lbw with a ball that kept low and went straight.

Agha Salman and Hasan Ali fell cheaply, but Sri Lanka’s faint hopes of an unlikely victory evaporated when Kasun Rajitha dropped Shafique at deep square leg.

Pakistan were 11 runs away when rain intervened and Shafique sealed Pakistan’s victory with a boundary when play resumed.

The indefatigable Jayasuriya bowled 56.2 overs in the second innings and finished with a match-haul of nine wickets.

“As a bowling unit, we need to give more support to Prabath,” Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne said after the loss.

“He did a really good job… he bowled in the good areas and didn’t give any loose balls.”

The teams stay put in Galle for the second Test beginning on Sunday.

Pakistan 1st innings                                218 all out

Pakistan 2nd innings

Abdullah Shafique Not Out                                160

Imam ul-Haq st N. Dickwella b R. Mendis                      35

Azhar Ali c Dhananjaya de Silva b P. Jayasuriya         06

Babar Azam b Prabath Jayasuriya                  55

Mohammad Rizwan lbw P. Jayasuriya           40

Agha Salman c N. Dickwella b P. Jayasuriya                12

Hasan Ali c M. Theekshana b D. de Silva                      05

Mohammad Nawaz Not Out                              19

Extras (5b 7lb 0nb 0pen 0w)                            12

Total (127.2 overs)                                        344-6

Fall of Wickets: 1-87 ul-Haq, 2-104 Ali, 3-205 Azam, 4-276 Rizwan, 5-298 Salman, 6-303 Ali

Bowling: Prabath Jayasuriya 56.2-10-135-4, Ramesh Mendis 33-0-102-1, Dhananjaya de Silva 15-1-33-1

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

Kusal Mendis b Yasir Shah                               76

A. Mathews c Babar Azam b M. Nawaz                          09

Dinesh Chandimal Not Out                               94

Dhananjaya de Silva b Yasir Shah                  20

Niroshan Dickwella b Mohammad Nawaz                     12

Ramesh 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