Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 1st Test Day 4: Shafiq and Sarfraz strike back

Shafiq celebrates after scoring his seventh Test century

Shafiq celebrates after scoring his seventh Test century

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Pakistan batsman Asad Shafiq scored 131 and wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed made 96 to get their side back into contention against Sri Lanka on the fourth day of the first Test in Galle.

Pakistan were on the verge of a major collapse when they finished on 118/5 at the end of the third day, but Shafiq and Ahmed ensured that didn’t happen as they converted their 22-run partnership into a 139-run stand, during which Ahmed surpassed his half-century.

With Ahmed hammering the Sri Lankan bowling attack all over the ground, he was on track for a triple figure score. But, he attempted one big shot too many and paid for it with his wicket as he was clean bowled by Dhammika Prasad.

Ahmed’s entertaining innings of 96 came off 86 balls and included 13 boundaries.

Ahmed fell four agonising runs short of his fourth Test century

Ahmed fell four agonising runs short of his fourth Test century

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Despite having lost his partner after stabilising the innings, Shafiq continued to push on even though Wahab Riaz and Yasir Shah were dismissed in fairly quick succession.

Shafiq received some much-needed help from spinner Zulfiqar Babar as the pair amassed an impressive 101-run partnership, during which Shafiq brought up his seventh Test century and Babar his half-century.

Dilruwan Perera got the breakthrough Sri Lanka so desperately needed when Babar was caught by Kithuruwan Vithanage at long-off.

Babar’s career-best knock of 56 came off 60 deliveries and included six boundaries and two sixes.

Babar is ecstatic upon bringing up his maiden Test fifty

Babar is ecstatic after bringing up his maiden Test fifty

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Pakistan were eventually bowled out for 417, giving them a 117-run lead, when Shafiq was stumped by Dinesh Chandimal off the bowling of Perera.

Shafiq ended up making 131 off 253 balls, which included five boundaries.

Perera was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Prasad snapped up three, Nuwan Pradeep took two and Rangana Herath chipped in with one.

Trailing by 117 runs, Sri Lanka got off to a poor start as opening batsman Kaushal Silva was unable to replicate his first innings score of 125 as he was caught by Azhar Ali at third slip off the bowling of Riaz for five runs.

Dimuth Karunaratne and Kumar Sangakkara somewhat rebuilt the innings following the early loss of Silva as they mustered a 45-run partnership before Sangakkara, who scored 50 in the first innings, was caught by Ali at short leg off the bowling of Shah.

Karunaratne and Perera only faced 11 more balls before stumps was called.

Karunaratne finished on 36 off 64 balls, which included six boundaries, while Perera has yet to get off the mark.

Riaz and Shah claimed one wicket each.

Sri Lanka ended day four on 63/2 and will continue batting tomorrow at 09:30 local time or 04:00 GMT.

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