Abrar Ahmed and Naseem Shah claimed seven wickets together, while Abdullah Shafique and Shan Masood scored half-centuries, putting Pakistan in a strong position against Sri Lanka by the end of day 1 in the second Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground.
Choosing to bat first, Sri Lanka’s decision backfired as they were all out for just 166 in 48.4 overs, marking their lowest first-innings total at the venue. In response, Pakistan reached 145/2 in 28.3 overs, trailing Sri Lanka by just 21 runs.
Dhananjaya de Silva was the only standout performer for the hosts, scoring 57 and forming an 85-run partnership with Dinesh Chandimal. Besides their heroics, it turned out to be an otherwise disappointing batting display by the Lankans.
Pakistan’s bowlers dominated, with mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed taking four wickets for 69 runs in 20.4 overs, well-supported by Naseem Shah’s three wickets for 41 runs in 14 overs. Shaheen Shah Afridi claimed one wicket, conceding 44 runs in 11 overs, and the fielding effort was outstanding, with Shan Masood contributing through two superb run-outs.
Sri Lanka’s troubles began early, losing Nishan Madushka to a direct hit by Masood, followed by Kusal Mendis falling to a simple catch at backward point and Naseem taking two quick wickets to dismiss Angelo Mathews and Dimuth Karunaratne, reducing Sri Lanka to 36 for four in 14.1 overs.
Dhananjaya and Chandimal tried to stabilise Sri Lanka’s innings, showing patience and collecting boundaries to stage a revival. However, Chandimal’s pull shot was caught at deep mid-wicket in the 34th over, followed by Sadeera Samarawickrama getting out for a four-ball duck.
Although Dhananjaya reached his fifty, his mistimed sweep resulted in a catch at diving mid-wicket off Abrar’s bowling. Ramesh Mendis put up some resistance with a quick 27, but Abrar dismissed him and Asitha Fernando as Sri Lanka lost six wickets for 87 runs in the second session.
In reply, Pakistan lost opener Imam-ul-Haq early for just 6, but Abdullah and Masood formed a strong 108-run partnership for the second wicket off just 117 balls, picking the boundaries consistently.
Luck favored the Pakistani batsmen, with Sri Lanka missing an lbw review on Masood, and Abdullah being dropped by Prabath Jayasuriya off his own bowling. Masood scored 51 off 47 balls with four fours and a six before becoming Fernando’s second victim of the day.
Due to poor light, play was called off early. Abdullah remained unbeaten on 74 off 99 balls, hammering seven fours and two sixes. Skipper Babar Azam was not out on 8 off 21 balls.