Shafique 160* Fires Pakistan To Memorable Victory In Galle

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Shafique 160* fires Pakistan to memorable victory in Galle. Abdullah Shafique made an unbeaten 160

Shafique 160* Fires Pakistan To Memorable Victory In GalleAbdullah Shafique made an unbeaten 160

In a Test where the pendulum oscillated to and fro, Abdullah Shafique provided the finishing touches with a defining 408-ball unbeaten 160 to seal Pakistan's memorable four-wicket win over Sri Lanka in Galle. Pakistan's effort also turned out to be the highest successful chase in a Galle Test.

On the final day, the visitors needed a further 130 runs. Shafique and Mohammad Rizwan, the two overnight batters, played with composure to negate the early threat of the spinners with a hard new ball. The duo also essayed some fine drives off the erring Ramesh Mendis through covers to keep the scorecard ticking over. In an attempt to break the stand, Sri Lanka took a couple of reviews – one each against Shafique and Rizwan – but both turned out to be unsuccessful ones. By then, Sri Lanka had also used up all their reviews.

There were a few discussions in the middle between Dimuth Karunaratne and a few other Sri Lankan players as the hosts looked to find a way to break the threatening stand. Eventually, things started happening for Sri Lanka. Prabath Jayasuriya, who had already beaten the bat a few times, went past the edge on a couple more occasions and bowled a maiden over. In fact, that was the first maiden over of the day, which in turn capsulised the point that Jayasuriya wasn't getting enough support from the other end.

By then, Karunaratne had also introduced Dhananjaya de Silva into the attack. Dhananjaya did give Jayasuriya the required support by stringing together enough dots to keep the pressure from the other end. And Jayasuriya duly got the reward for his persistence by removing Rizwan with the slider. Jayasuriya continued to bowl with unremitting control and extracted enough turn to beat both Agha Salman and Shafique. Meanwhile, Dhananjaya fluffed a rather tough caught and bowled chance to give the set Shafique a reprieve. At that juncture, it seemed as if Pakistan would go into the break having lost a single wicket in the session. However, Jayasuriya had other ideas as he forced Salman to edge one behind.

With only 44 to get, Hasan Ali was sent in ahead of Nawaz with an intention of looking for quick runs but the lower order batter was dismissed by Dhananjaya. Nawaz, who replaced Hasan at the crease, had a few nervy moments including an appeal for bat-pad that was turned down. Replays later suggested there was no bat involved. With Dhananjaya and Jayasuriya not giving anything away, the pressure got to even Shafique. The opener skipped down the deck and tried to hoick Dhananjaya across the line and eked out a top-edge. Unfortunately for the home team, Kasun Rajitha dropped the chance.

The dropped catch by Rajitha seemed to be the final twist in the engrossing Test but there was one more in store. With Pakistan needing a mere 11 runs to complete the formalities, the heavens opened up and it started raining. But the rain soon relented as Shafique and Nawaz knocked off the remaining runs.

Alongside Shafique, Babar Azam also played a key role in Pakistan's win with a resolute hundred in the first innings followed by a fifty in the second. Meanwhile, when the Galle track slowed down to some extent, Sri Lanka's spin trio, barring Jayasuriya, couldn't maintain control for long periods. In hindsight, the home team could have used more of Dhananjaya in the second innings.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 222 (Dinesh Chandimal 76; Shaheen Afridi 4-58) and 337 (Dinesh Chandimal 94*, Kusal Mendis 76; Mohammad Nawaz 5-88) lost to Pakistan 218 (Babar Azam 119; Prabath Jayasuriya 5-88) and 344/6 (Abdullah Shafique 160; Prabath Jayasuriya 4-135) by four wickets

Leave a Comment