By | July 16, 2022

Stumps Pakistan 24 for 2 (Azhar 3*, Babar 1*, Jayasuriya 1-2) trail Sri Lanka 222 (Chandimal 76, Theekshana 38, Oshada 35, Afridi 4-58, Hasan 2-23, Yasir 2-66) by 198 runs

Sri Lanka dislodged both of Pakistan’s openers in the closing hour of the game on first day in Galle in the final hour of play, as the hosts came back strongly in a game that mostly been the home team’s day.

Kasun Rajitha had one of them take a nip from the middle of the wicket to snare the left-handed Imam-ulHaq lbw – an delivery that’s rapidly becoming the norm in Rajitha’s style of bowling. Prabath Jayasuriya was able to take care of Abdullah Shafique, who was also dismissed leg before getting was slapped on the pads, one of them playing with his arm.

At that point, Azhar Ali and Babar Azam closed their doors and decided to bat out throughout the remainder of the day. However, with the wicket showing some help to spinners Sri Lanka would have surely been pleased.

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Pakistan finished the day with 198 runs in the back in the series, a gap that could have been much smaller if it weren’t due to the efforts by Dinesh Chandimal counterattack and Maheesh Theekshana rearguard who scored 76 and 38 respectively.

Chandimal’s counterattack as well as Theekshana’s determined rearguard managed to get an acceptable score after Pakistan’s bowlers who were led by the formidable Shaheen Shah Afridi who scored 4 for 58 – at times threatened to wreak havoc on them The Sri Lankans’ final two wickets added 89 more runs as they bounced back from a bleak score of 133-8 to a acceptable 221.

Chandimal’s innings reminded him at moments of the blitzkrieg performance that he put up against Australia just a few days prior. The former skipper who had battled for his job cut his way through the field, pulled, swept and struck into a total of 115 ball 76 even if he had to share a large portion of that effort with Theekshana , who was supposedly a tail-ender, despite the fact that certain strokes he played at times contradicted that.

The most impressive part of his innings was when Sri Lanka were at their lowest point, having couple of overs earlier losing the eighth wicket. Chandimal was aware that runs were scarce was up for the challenge by lacing Naseem Shah three times in succession for boundaries. First two boundaries were quick balls disdainfully thrown out on the square leg. The final resulted in the 22nd time he has scored a fifty in Test play, a dazzling front-footed clip that penetrated deep square leg and fine leg which reached the ropes upon bounce. The best shot he made was saved however it was right-arm spinning Mohammed Nawaz, who he took a slog-swept approach to get a maximum out of square leg.

If Chandimal was in his own way, however, he would probably be playing a more thoughtful strike on a pitch which required patience even if it wasn’t exactly the violent turner Galle is famous for. His team’s incompetence but, in the end, made him rethink his approach.

After winning the toss and decided for batting, Sri Lanka got off in a bad way, the skipper, Dimuth Karunaratne, playing with his stumps.

He was another victim to the legendary early-overs attack. Afridi was scouting the line to the left of Karunaratne’s stump and, having noticed his propensity to drive towards the cover, he managed to push back just enough to grab the edge of the forward defence to pa

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