Pakistan vs Sri Lanka 1st Test Day 5: Match drawn following Hafeez’s heroics

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Hafeez played a match-saving innings

Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez scored a magnificent half-century to help his side draw the first Test against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi.

Hafeez was well supported by debutant Ahmed Shehzad, who amassed a half-century.

Starting out the day on 420/5, Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews and wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene converted their 96-run partnership into a 156-run partnership, during which Mathews surpassed the 150-run mark and Jayawardene brought up his half-century, before Mathews decided to declare on 480/5.

Mathews finished on a career-best 157, which came off 343 balls and included 16 boundaries and a six, while Jayawardene remained undefeated on 63 off 169 deliveries, which included six boundaries and a six.

Junaid Khan was the pick of the Pakistani bowlers with three wickets, while Bilawal Bhatti snapped up two as Pakistan were set a target of 302 to win.

With a target of 302 standing between them and going 1-0 up, Pakistan got off to a poor start as opening batsman Khurram Manzoor was caught behind off the bowling of Suranga Lakmal.

Shehzad and Hafeez made up for the early loss of Manzoor with a brilliant 101-run partnership, during which both batsmen registered their half-centuries, before Shehzad was given out lbw off the bowling of Rangana Herath.

Shehzad reviewed the decision immediately, but replays showed that the ball was pitching in line, had not hit the bat and was going on to hit the stumps, which led to the third umpire upholding the original decision.

Shehzad’s fantastic knock of 55 came off 109 balls and included seven boundaries.

Hafeez and Younis Khan kept the runs flowing with a 33-run partnership before the umpires decided to end the match.

Hafeez finished on 80 off 136 balls, which included 11 boundaries, while Khan remained undefeated on 13.

Lakmal and Herath picked up one wicket apiece.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq was pleased with the way his team fought back after being dominated by Mathews.

“Pretty even Test match,” he said. “The first two days we dominated, and then they came back really well on day three and four, and fifth day was even for both teams.

I think both teams played good cricket, but we need to improve a few things going forward. Especially with how we collapsed in the first innings and we need to improve the bowling areas we pitch, especially when the wicket gets flatter, and the fielding also. I think it was a typical Abu Dhabi wicket. Normally the first two days are good for seamers, and then it flattens out, except for the England Test matches (last year), where we go turn in the later days. It was green for the first two days, but towards the end there was nothing for the bowlers, especially for the spinners.

“I think the credit should be given to the Sri Lankans for how they played him (Ajmal). There was nothing for him in the wicket but in the next few games he will come back and show what a world-class bowler he is. Lots of positives for us.

“Junaid Khan is proving himself again and again, and Bhatti bowled well so that’s a plus. Shehzad scored runs, and Younis is back in form. Hopefully the team is in good shape and have good confidence (going forward).”

Mathews, who was named Man of the Match, was ecstatic with the performance of his batsmen, and said: “Happy with the way I batted. Hope I can continue for the future. Not all the batters can do their job every day, so whoever gets in has to score some runs. This is the best I have batted for my country.

“We were in a spot of bother (on the third day). They bowled brilliantly and I had to play my ODI game (in the first innings), so at least we got to 200. It was a pretty see-saw kind of game. The first couple of days they were pretty good and then the fourth and fifth we were better.

“The new-ball is very crucial when you have to face Junaid, Rahat and all.

“Chandimal batted brilliantly when the team needed him, so hats off to him. He’s the best wicketkeeper going around, and very solid when it comes to his batting. We needed an innings like that from him, and pretty pleased with how things went.”

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