Saud Shakeel’s double ton puts Pakistan on top in Sri Lanka Test

Published July 18, 2023
Saud Shakeel (L) celebrates after scoring double centuries (200 runs) during the third day of the first cricket Test match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on July 18, 2023. — AFP
Saud Shakeel (L) celebrates after scoring double centuries (200 runs) during the third day of the first cricket Test match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on July 18, 2023. — AFP
Saud Shakeel (L) celebrates 150 runs as his teammate Naseem Shah watches during the third day of the first cricket Test match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on July 18. — AFP
Saud Shakeel (L) celebrates 150 runs as his teammate Naseem Shah watches during the third day of the first cricket Test match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on July 18. — AFP
Saud Shakeel plays a shot during the third day play of the first Test match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on Tuesday. — AFP
Saud Shakeel plays a shot during the third day play of the first Test match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on Tuesday. — AFP

Saud Shakeel hit his maiden double century in Tests as Pakistan stretched their lead to a dominant 149 against Sri Lanka on day three of the rain-hit opening match on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka bowled out the tourists for 461 in the final session after a frustrating ninth-wicket stand of 94 between Shakeel, who remained unbeaten on 208, and Naseem Shah, who made six off 78 balls.

The 27-year-old Shakeel, who is playing his sixth Test, ruled as he cut Dhananjaya de Silva for a boundary to bring up his double century to a standing ovation.

The hosts ended the day on 14 for no loss after bad light stopped another rain-affected day. Sri Lanka still trail Pakistan by 135 runs in their second innings.

Nishan Madushka, on eight, and skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, on six, were batting at close of play.

The Sri Lankan bowlers led by off-spinner Ramesh Mendis, who ended with a five-wicket haul, hit back in the second session but Shakeel combined with the lower-order including a 52-run seventh-wicket stand with Noman Ali, who made 25.

But it was his 177-run partnership with Agha Salman, who hit 83, that drove Pakistan’s bounce back from 101-5 in their reply to Sri Lanka’s 312.

Shakeel was dropped twice on 93 and 139 as he went past his previous best of 125 not out.

Both Shakeel and Salman scored runs briskly and hit regular boundaries but the run rate dipped after Salman’s departure.

Later, the team celebrated Shakeel’s double century with “inspiring words from head coach Grant Bradburn”, the Pakistan Cricket Board tweeted.

The day started late due to rain, which affected play on the previous two days, prompting officials to re-adjust the session timings.

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