Saud, Agha stage Pakistan’s recovery, Sri Lanka dismissed for 312 in first Test

Saud Shakeel and Agha Salman spearheaded a remarkable comeback for Pakistan in their first innings of the opening Test against Sri Lanka. The duo notched unbeaten half-centuries, rescuing their team from a perilous position of 101/5 on the second day of the match.

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Saud Shakeel displayed an impressive batting performance, reaching 69 not out, while Agha Salman contributed 61 not out. Together, they formed an unbroken partnership of over a hundred runs for the sixth wicket, propelling Pakistan to a total of 221/5 in 45 overs before inclement weather and poor light prematurely halted the day’s play.

Despite the commendable efforts of Saud Shakeel and Agha Salman, Pakistan still trailed the home team, Sri Lanka, by 91 runs. This deficit arose after Pakistan limited Sri Lanka to a first-innings score of 312 all out at the Galle International Stadium.

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Resuming from an overnight score of 242/6 in 65.4 overs, Sri Lanka experienced the dismissal of Ramesh Mendis (5) following his partnership with Dhananjaya de Silva, which helped the team surpass the 250-run mark. Subsequently, Dhananjaya de Silva achieved a century, completing the feat in 175 deliveries, which included 10 boundaries and three sixes.

During his innings, Dhananjaya de Silva, who concluded the first day’s play on 94, held one end steadfastly, while Prabath Jayasuriya (4) and Rasun Rajitha (8) fell to Pakistani bowlers. Meanwhile, Vishwa Fernando remained unbeaten on 21.

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Shan Masood took the crucial wicket of Dhananjaya de Silva for 122, caught by Naseem Shah, enabling Sri Lanka to surpass the 300-run milestone. Among the Pakistani bowlers, Shaheen Shah Afridi (3-86), Naseem Shah (3-90), and Abrar Ahmed (3-68) stood out as the primary wicket-takers.

In response, Pakistan lost opener Imam-ul-Haq to Ramesh Mendis on just the fifth delivery of the second over, with substitute Mendis making the catch. Abdullah Shafique, the other opener, managed to stay at the crease for 28 deliveries before being caught by Dhananjaya de Silva off the bowling of Prabath Jayasuriya, departing for 19.

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Shan Masood provided some quick runs, scoring 39 off 30 balls before falling lbw to Ramesh Mendis. Skipper Babar Azam contributed 13 runs but was soon dismissed, having hit two boundaries in his 16-ball stay. Sarfaraz Ahmed, the Pakistani wicketkeeper, also fell victim to an lbw decision by Jayasuriya, departing for 17 off 15 deliveries. These dismissals saw Pakistan slump to 101/5, but the recovery was initiated by Saud Shakeel and Agha Salman.

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