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SL vs PAK | Shakeel, Salman Rescue Pakistan after Jayasuriya's Three-Fer Shakes Their Top-Order

image-lk6twnseSaud Shakeel scored a fighting fifty (Twitter)

The pendulum of advantage in the opening Test match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan continues to swing, with neither side asserting dominance by the close of the second day. Following Sri Lanka's first innings score of 312, Pakistan ended the day at 221/5 making Day 2's honours a shared affair.

Dhanajaya and tail guide Sri Lanka post 300

Resuming the play at 242/6, Sri Lanka managed to put up a decent total of 312 on the board, thanks to a splendid century by Dhananjaya de Silva. De Silva, known for his ability to rescue Sri Lanka from dire situations, once again proved his mettle by scoring a steady 122 off 214 balls.

The Sri Lankan tail also wagged, with the last-wicket duo of Kasun Rajitha and Vishwa Fernando contributing with a critical stand of 29 runs that pushed their team past the 300-run milestone.

Jayasuriya's spin masterclass leaves Pakistan in tatters

In response, Pakistan's start was far from ideal. Opener Imam-ul-Haq was dispatched early, managing just a single run before getting dismissed off Rajitha’s bowling. Just when it seemed that the ship was steadying, Abdullah Shafique fell for 19, giving Sri Lanka another breakthrough.

Enter Masood, who ushered in a brief period of Pakistani dominance. Fresh from an impressive performance in the warm-up game, Masood played with deftness and precision, using the gaps in the field effectively to maintain a healthy run rate. However, the elation was short-lived as he was adjudged lbw, much to his disbelief, after a successful Sri Lankan review for 39 off 30 balls

The spinning wizardry of Prabath Jayasuriya then came to the fore, as he rattled Pakistan's batting lineup, claiming the prized wicket of Babar Azam. With Pakistan still trailing by 239 runs, their situation was further compounded by the dismissal of Sarfaraz Ahmed, leaving Pakistan reeling at 101/5. 

Shakeel-Salman lead Pakistan's fightback

Subsequently, Agha Salman and Saud Shakeel there were no further setbacks as they went into Tea at 132/5. The final session of the day saw the Pakistani duo demonstrating great composure and skill against the Sri Lankan spin attack, extending their partnership further. 

Their unbeaten 120-run stand off 148 balls was interrupted only by the rain, which halted the day's play with Pakistan at 221/5, still trailing by 91 runs. Shakeel was unbeaten on a patient 69, while Salman was also looking solid at 61. With no further play possible, Stumps were called on Day 2.

Brief Scores

Sri Lanka: 312-10 (95.2)

Dhananjaya de Silva 122 (214), Angelo Mathews 64 (109)

Abrar Ahmed 3-68 (31.2), Shaheen Afridi 3-86 (24)

Pakistan: 221-5 (45)

Saud Shakeel 69 (88), Agha Salman 61 (84)

Prabath Jayasuriya 3-83 (16), Kasun Rajitha 1-33 (9)

Pakistan trail by 91 runs