Owing to the tinge of green on a 22-yard surface, Pakistan used as many as seven bowlers on the opening day of the first Test to see Sri Lanka posting 227 on board for the loss of four wickets in 90 overs when the stumps got drawn at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Following the 3-0 drubbing against World ranked No.1 India at home recently, the Lankan batters were backing themselves while being cautious in the approach in a bid to face the hosts’ much-talked bowling line-up.
Skipper Dinesh Chandimal struck an unbeaten 60 off 184 balls, and wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella remained not out on 42 off 63 deliveries to share honours on day one. However, the visitors scored at the run-rate of 2.52, as the pick of the bowlers was Yasir Shah, who sent down 34 overs to bag two crucial wickets after conceding 59 runs. He also bowled eight maidens.
The effective fourth-wicket partnership between Dimuth Karunaratne and captain Dinesh Chandimal steadied the ship when collapse was on the cards, as both batters put hundred-run partnership before the opening batter was found short of his crease following the huge mix-up which saw gloveman dislodging the zing bails.
Karunaratne was just seven away from his hundred. He faced 205 deliveries to scored 93, as his innings included five boundaries. As the Test cricket arrived in the deserts with Pakistan playing under newly-appointed Test skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, the visiting side Sri Lanka lost three wickets when the Islanders were struggling at 61 for three in 28.1 overs at lunch.
Earlier, Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal opted to bat first after winning the toss against Pakistan on a surface which has a true bounce on offer.
However, the Lions batsmen have had to wait for the loose balls to keep the scoreboard ticking on a hot and humid day.
At the score of 34 in 18th over, Pakistan drew the first blood when opening batsman Kaushal Silva was clean bowled by the wily customer Hasan Ali, who is playing his second Test of his career after making his debutant against Windies in the Caribbean. The 31-year-old Silva scored 58-ball 12 at the strike-rate of 20.69.
In very next over, the left-handed batsman Lahiru Thirimanne was trapped in front of the stumps by Yasir Shah, as the ball raps his back leg while opting for a slog shot – to see on-field umpire raising his dreaded finger.
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With the prized scalp of Thirammane, the 31-year-old Yasir became the second fastest overall and fastest spinner eventually to claim 150 wickets, as he achieved the feat in his 27th Test.
Kusal Mendis was sent back to the pavilion after the ball took outside edge of the bat – to settle into the gloves of Sarfraz Ahmed, who completed a catch after sharp reflexes. Mendis scored ten off 25 balls.
Concluding, Pakistan is playing 28-year-old left-handed batsman Haris Sohail, who eventually became the 229th player for Pakistan to receive the Test cap which was provided by senior batsman Azhar Ali.