Honours even between Pakistan and Sri Lanka on Day One of 1st Test in Rawalpindi
Sri Lanka were 202 for 5 at the close of play on day one of the 1st Test at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi today.
Sri Lanka - 202 - 5 (68.1overs) – (Dimuth Karunaratne 59)
Pakistan – Still to bat
At the Close on Day 1 - Sri Lanka are 202 for 5
Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat on this historic day for Pakistan cricket, scoring 202-5 when play was halted due to bad light – the Sri Lankan openers, skipper Dimuth Karunaratne 59 and Oshada Fernando 40 gave them a steady start with an opening partnership of 96. However, the Pakistan bowlers hit back leaving honours even when bad light stopped play with sri Lanka 202-5. Although Naseem Shah 2-50 was the main wicket taker for Pakistan, Usman Shinwari, Mohammad Abbas, and Shaheen Afridi all put in good spells, keeping the Sri Lankan batsmen contained.
Fall Of Wickets: 1-96 (Dimuth Karunaratne, 30.1 Ov) , 2-108 (Oshada Fernando, 35.3 Ov) , 3-120 (Kusal Mendis, 41.6 Ov) , 4-127 (LD Chandimal, 44.2 Ov) , 5-189 (AD Mathews, 63.4 Ov)
Match Comment - Salim Parvez
A new beginning for Pakistan cricket
On a momentous day for Pakistan cricket, it hosted a Test match for the first time since 2009, against Sri Lanka at Rawalpindi Stadium. The return of red-ball cricket in the country, after 3935 days of long wait to be exact, overtook all the events on the field.
Not surprisingly, no Pakistan player in its 16-man squad had played Test in front of home crowd, adding further excitement to the days leading to today. Pakistan team’s selection was bold to say the least although 34-year old left-handed batsman Fawad Alam would consider himself considerably unlucky for after speaking to the media, he seemed a certainty for this significant international fixture. He too was making a comeback, having been ditched after only three appearances in 2009 which included a splendid 168 (259 balls, 15 fours, 1 six) on his Test debut at Colombo (PSS). His continued absence has baffled many for he has been the most prolific batsman at domestic level.
The opening batsman Abid Ali and paceman Usman Shinwari were awarded Test caps by Javed Miandad and Waqar Younis, respectively. Sri Lanka captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, opted to bat first and walked out himself with his opening partner, Oshada Fernando, with a 9.45am start. The pair gave their side a steady start against four-man pace attack and by dropping Yasir Shah, Pakistan had taken the field, without a front-line spinner at home, for the first time since 1995. Another Pakistan player who would have loved to be part of the Test was Mohammad Aamir, who grew up and learned his game in the region and would have cherished the moment but sadly few months ago had retired from five-day format.
The 96-run stand between Karunaratne (59) and Fernando (40) was broken after lunch before another three wickets were picked up by Pakistan pacemen to leave the tourists struggling at 127-4. A fighting knocks by Angelo Mathews (31) and Dhanan de Silva (38 not out) helped Sri Lanka to 202-5 after bad light curtailed the play to 68.1 overs. Naseem Shah’s 2-51 off 16 overs included a maiden Test wicket and he was easily the most impressive Pakistan bowler on the day.
An invitation to Javed Miandad and Bandula Warnapura –the two captains of the first ever Test match between the two countries in Karachi in 1982 – was a PCB gesture appreciated by cricket fans of both Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Miandad, a feisty character in his illustrious career, also had a chat with Majid Khan, a great stylist amongst Pakistan batsmen. The two were at daggers drawn with each other during the same series against Sri Lanka, which would eventually lead the Board to look elsewhere and appoint Imran Khan.
Pakistan - Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali(c), Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan(wk), Usman Shinwari, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi
Sri Lanka - Dimuth Karunaratne(c), Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella(wk), Dilruwan Perera, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara
Start Time: 04:45
Toss: Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat
Venue: Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi
Officials: Michael Gough, Richard Kettleborough, Richard Illingworth, Shozab Raza, Andrew Pycroft
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