Shafique and Masood increase Pakistan’s lead after Sri Lanka concedes easily

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On fast 74, Abdullah Shafique continued to be perfect

Pakistan was the clear winner on day one of the second Test, trailing Sri Lanka by just 21 runs after dominating in every area. As Pakistan sped to 145 for 2 off 28.3 overs with Abdullah Shafique unbeaten on 74 and Babar Azam on 8, play was stopped due to poor lighting.

The hosts, on the other hand, were the architects of their own demise, capitulating for 166 before tea after electing to bat first on what appeared to be a very excellent surface. Dimuth Karunaratne chose to bat after the game’s scheduled start was postponed due to rain, but it was not the performance he had in mind.

Only four Sri Lankan hits and got double digits before the innings was over due to bad shot choices and excellent defense. Only Dhananjaya de Silva, who finished first with 57 points, scored more than fifty of those. 

As they ran roughshod over the Sri Lankan batters, Pakistan’s Abrar Ahmed finished with 4 for 69 and Naseem Shah picked up 3 for 41. Pakistan’s fielding, though, was once more the standout performance.

Shan Masood established the tone early on in the game by using a direct hit to run Nishan Madushka out in the third over of the day. Shan Masood’s 47-ball 51 would subsequently assert Pakistan’s dominance. As the innings came to a conclusion, he would use the same tactic to run Prabath Jayasuriya out.

Between those two dismissals, Dhananjaya was also out thanks to a deft catch in the deep, and Sadeera Samarawickrama was caught for the third time in as many innings, this time at short leg, with skill.

When Pakistan’s players weren’t displaying such excellence on the field, Sri Lanka’s batters were giving runs away, as shown when Angelo Mathews edged through gently to midwicket when poking outside off, or when Kusal Mendis sliced to point, or when Dinesh Chandimal top-edged to point. 

Ramesh Mendis may be added to this list, but by the time he was eliminated, it was almost certain that the innings would not be saved.

At this stage, it was obviously obvious that Sri Lanka had wasted favorable conditions, but to drive home the point even more, Pakistan sped along for significant portions of their innings at around seven an over.

Shafique and Masood continued to disassemble the bowling after Imam-ul-Haq was cheaply caught out while attempting to block a short one. The straight borders, where three sixes were slammed into the ground, were the only areas of the field that either player thought to be safe. 

Before Masood top-edged one for Kusal to grab a quick catch with the ball falling over his shoulder at midwicket, the pair combined for 108 runs at a pace of 5.58.

After this dismissal, Pakistan’s rate of scoring significantly dropped, but that was probably due to the sky growing gloomier and the day coming to an end.

In addition, Sri Lanka made matters worse for themselves by declining to review a lbw against Shafique that was ruled to be incorrect based on replays. Afterward, Shafique was given out lbw on-field but replays showed the ball bouncing over, and he was saved by DRS just before the end of the game.

The visitors from Pakistan have been courageous in their approach, and if they maintain it, Sri Lanka may have a hard day on the field.

Pakistan 145 for 2 (Shafique 74*, Masood 51, Fernando 2-41) trail Sri Lanka 166 (Dhananjaya 57, Chandimal 34, Abrar 4-69, Naseem 3-41) by 21 runs