Abdullah’s double ton, Salman century put Pakistan in charge

Published July 27, 2023
PAKISTAN’S centurion Salman Ali Agha plays a shot during the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground on Wednesday.—AFP
PAKISTAN’S centurion Salman Ali Agha plays a shot during the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground on Wednesday.—AFP

COLOMBO: Opener Abdullah Shafique’s maiden double century and an unbeaten 132 by Salman Ali Agha put Pakistan in the box seat on day three of the second Test against Sri Lanka here at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground on Wednesday.

The tourists reached a massive 563-5 at stumps, leading Sri Lanka by 397 runs in their first innings.

Salman and concussion substitute Mohammad Rizwan, on 37, were batting in an unbeaten stand of 95 after Abdullah’s departure on 201.

Salman played attacking cricket to reinforce Pakistan’s new aggressive style in this series and reached his second Test ton with a boundary.

“The Pakistan batsmen are employing the same batting tactics of the teams playing in the Ashes trying to maintain a run-rate of four runs an over,” Sri Lanka’s spin bowling coach Piyal Wijetunge told reporters.

“They were helped by the wicket becoming easier and our bowlers not bowling at 100 percent.”

Abdullah led the mammoth reply in response to Sri Lanka’s 166 as he put on three century stands including a 124-run sixth-wicket partnership with Salman.

Abdullah, who began the day on 87, reached 200 in the final session with a single off Asitha Fernando, taking off his helmet and pointing to his name on the back of his jersey.

But he was soon caught out at deep mid-off by left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuriya, who also had skipper Babar Azam for 39 earlier in the day.

Fernando cut short Saud Shakeel’s knock on 57 in the afternoon session to take his wicket tally to three.

The fast bowler came around the wicket to trap the left-handed Saud lbw and end a 109-run partnership with Abdullah.

Wicket-keeper/batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed made 14 before he retired hurt after feeling dizzy, likely due to a blow he received on his helmet on the first ball faced from Fernando.

The right-hander was finally substituted by Rizwan.

Abdullah passed 150 for the second time against Sri Lanka with a single off Ramesh Mendis, and then went past his previous Test best of 160 not out.

Pakistan resumed on 178-2 after Tuesday’s downpours restricted the action to just 10 overs.

Abdullah started cautiously but soon hit two successive boundaries off Fernando before a single got his hundred.

Babar added 11 to his overnight 28 before being trapped lbw, with the decision upheld by the third umpire after review.

It was the sixth time Babar had been dismissed in Test cricket by Jayasuriya, who bowled unchanged from one end in the first session.

Pakistan won the first Test in the two-match series by four wickets in Galle.

Scoreboard

SRI LANKA (1st Innings) 166 (D. de Silva 57; A. Ahmed 4-69, N. Shah 3-41)

PAKISTAN (1st Innings, overnight 178-2):

Abdullah Shafique c Madushanka b Jayasuriya 201

Imam-ul-Haq c Madushka b Fernando 6

Shan Masood c K. Mendis b Fernando 51

Babar Azam lbw b Jayasuriya 39

Saud Shakeel lbw b Fernando 57

Sarfraz Ahmed retired hurt 14

Salman Ali Agha not out 132

Mohammad Rizwan not out 37

EXTRAS (B-4, LB-16, NB-3, W-3) 26

TOTAL (for five wickets, 132 overs) 563

STILL TO BAT: Nauman Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Abrar Ahmed

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-13 (Imam), 2-121 (Shan), 3-210 (Babar), 4-319 (Saud), 4-344 (Sarfaraz, retired hurt), 5-468 (Abdullah)

BOWLING: Fernando 24-0-133-3 (1nb, 3w); Madushanka 17-3-77-0; Mendis 36-2-139-0 (1nb); Jayasuriya 52-11-181-2 (1nb); De Silva 3-1-13-0

Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2023

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