Abdullah Shafique’s unbeaten 160 saw Pakistan chase down 342 in the 1st Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, the highest successful run-chase at the Galle International Stadium.
The Pakistani opener’s mammoth innings, which lasted 408 deliveries took the visitors home with over 45 overs remaining in the day’s play. His 160* is the 3rd highest score by a Pakistani batter in the 4th innings of a Test, behind Babar Alma’s 196 vs Australia earlier this year and Younis Khan’s 171* vs Sri Lanka in that record chase at Pallekelle in 2015; interestingly 4 of the top 5 on that list have come in Sri Lanka.
The visitors’ overnight batters Shafique and Mohammed Rizwan had a couple of close calls earlier in the day but managed to survive and add 54 runs to the overnight score before Rizwan fell LBW to Prabath Jayasuriya. That partnership really took the wind out of Sri Lanka’s sails, with the pitch too not doing too much to favour the spinners.
Sri Lanka sensed a slight opportunity with the dismissal of Rizwan and kept the pressure on but were unable to capitalize on the chances they were given. Dhananjaya de Silva was guilty of first missing a chance to run Shafique out after the batter had taken off for a run without realising that de Silva had picked the ball up at slip and then failing to hold on to a full-blooded drive off his own bowling. Shafique was on 128 and 135 when the two chances went down.
Jayasuriya continued his dream run in Tests, picking up 4 wickets to overtake Ajantha Mendis as the Sri Lankan with the most number of wickets after 2 Tests. He picked up 12 wickets against Australia last week and 9 wickets in this game; Mendis’ record stood at 18 wickets.
Whatever glimmer of hope Sri Lanka had with the wickets of Agha Salman and Hassan Ali on either side of the lunch break was squashed by Shafique, who batted on unfazed, taking Pakistan home with 4 wickets to spare.
He survived another chance on 151 when Kasun Rajitha put him down in the deep, this time off the bowling of De Silva, but by then the match was all but lost.
A short shower interrupted play with Pakistan needing just 11 to win, but the result was an inevitably once the skies cleared – Pakistan took just 16 balls to get across the line – Shafique deservedly hitting the winning runs as the visitors took a 1-0 lead in the 2-match series.
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