The pre-series warm-up game for the touring Pakistani Test squad, kickstarted today (11th) at Colts Grounds in Colombo, with the tourists ending the opening day on 277 for 7 against the Sri Lanka Cricket XI lead by 21-year old Nipun Dananjaya.
Electing to bat first after winning the toss, Pakistan lost both their openers Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq cheaply within the first 5 overs as Sri Lanka’s latest ODI debutant Pramod Madushan and 21-year old left-arm pacer Dilshan Madushanka produced a brilliant start for the home team with the new ball.
Pakistan’s highest ranked batting duo of Azhar Ali and Babar Azam then put on a brilliant 134-run stand for the 3rd wicket, as Skipper Azam scored at a brisk rate which included 8 boundaries and 4 sixes. Then a brilliant spell of bowling by the Lankan spin duo, Test cap Lasith Embuldeniya and 22-year old off-spinner Lakshitha Manasinghe, produced the wickets of the two set batters in quick succession – first Azam for 88 by Manasinghe, and then former Skipper Ali for 43 by Embuldeniya.
Manasinghe went on to add two more valuable scalps to his bag as he dismissed Fawad Alam and Mohammed Rizwan for 22 and 31 respectively, reducing Pakistan to 6 down for 200 runs. Following the fall of the 7th wicket, Shan Masood for 6 by Embuldeniya, the uncapped duo of Saud Shakeel and Agha Salman remained unbeaten, adding 71 runs for the 8th wicket.Member of the current Sri Lanka Test squad for the Australia series, Chamika Karunaratne, also had a ball bowling 5 overs. However, Embuldeniya’s returns of 2 for 83 in 30 overs after being dropped from the Test squad following a dismal performance in the 1st Test against Australia, stands out as a positive sign for the Lankans, apart from the impressive figures of Manasinghe. Manasinghe was also in contention for a debut in the 2nd Test, in which the mystery spin of Maheesh Theekshana was picked ahead of him.
And with Agha Salman’s half century Pakistan managed to score 323 runs losing all the wickets in 97 overs.Sri Lanka XI managed to bat tight and come up to a score of 375 runs losing 8 wickets.Sadeera Samarawickrama played a brilliant inning by scoring 91 runs off 99 balls with including 13 boundaries.Nishan Madushanka 57(94) and Nuwanidu Fernando 78(177) also scored half centuries by making it difficult for the Pakistani bowlers.Sri lanka scored 375 runs and declared their innings and invited Pakistan team to play their 2nd innings.Pakistan scored a total of 178 runs losing 2 wickets by the end of the last day and with that the match ended in a draw.
PAKISTAN• 323/10 (100 Overs) 1ST INNINGS
Babar Azam – 88 (113)
Agha Salman – 55 (79)
Lakshitha Manasinghe – 4/85 (24)
Lasith Embuldeniya 2/83 (30)
SRI LANKA CRICKET XI• 375/8 (99 Overs) 1ST INNINGS
Sadeedara Samarawickrama – 91 (99)
Nuwanidu Fernanddo – 78 (177)
Mohommad Nawaz – 2/24 (10)
PAKISTAN• 178/2 (50 Overs) 2ND INNINGS
Abdullah Shafique* – 63 (111)
Azhar Ali* – 40 (75)
Lasith Embuldeniya – 1/72 (20)
Lakshitha Manasinghe – 1/50 (13)
Match Highlights on YouTube- https://youtu.be/jqLdIiHw9KM