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Pakistan win by four wickets to take 1-0 series lead

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Skipper Babar Azam receiving winning cheque from SLC Head of Admin Aruna de Silva at the presentation ceremony held at Galle International cricket stadium. (Pic courtesy SLC)

Pakistan led by Babar Azam turned in a fine team effort to beat Sri Lanka by four wickets in the first test at Galle International cricket stadium yesterday. The fifth and final day yesterday Pakistan had to get 83 more runs and they did it in great style within 80 minutes and before lunch session at 11.05 a.m. to lead the series 1-0.

It was good Galle wicket throughout all five days while rain hit the game on first four days but yesterday no harm from weather and match started at 9.45 a.m. while two overnight batters skipper Babar Azam and Imam Ul Haq were leading the way to seal their victory with four wickets in hand.

In fact opener Imam Ul Haq made solid unbeaten 50 in 84 balls with 4 fours and a six while Babar Azam hit 24 in 28 balls with 5 fours also added 41 runs for the fourth wicket stand. Azam was out LBW to leg spinner Prabath Jayasuriya and Pakistan were 79 for 4 wickets at that stage.

The match hero Saud Shakeel who scored a brilliant double century once again added 30 in 38 balls with 6 fours and off spinner Ramesh Mendis took his wicket as Sadeera Samarawickrama took a simple catch behind the stumps.

However Imam Ul Haq joined Sarfaraz Ahmed but Ahmed couldn’t stay long time and returned to the pavilion scoring only one run and Jayasuriya accounted for his fourth wicket. Agha Salman faced his first ball and struck the winning six over mid off off Prabath Jayasuriya and celebrated their victory in great style.

Prabath Jayasuriya was the only successful bowler finished with 4 for 56 while Ramesh Mendis had 1 for 62 in 14 over spell.

Saud Shakeel was named man of the match while Sri Lankan all rounder Dhananjaya de Silva won super player award for highest number of boundaries in this game. Skipper Babar Azam who recevied trophy from SLC Administrative Manager Aruna de Silva said winning the game always gave good confidence while all credit should go to the youngsters who performed really well at this test match and this was their first victory after one year and their last test win was in 2022 February against Sri Lanka at the same Galle International Cricket Stadium.

Actually we lost early wickets but Saud Shakeel and Agha Salman changed the game. We need that type of partnership and that really pleased me said winning skipper Babar Azam. It was not easy to bat at Galle wicket but the way Saud Shakeel batted on this track was outstanding and wish him good luck and we are going to SSC test with more confidence with winning mentality said skipper Babar Azam.

The second test between the two countries will commence on July 24 at SSC grounds. Sri Lanka team led by Dimuth Karunaratne is expected to come to this match with new plan and they will train hard for the second test and their aim is to level the series.

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