Source AFP/File

Pakistan team defeated Sri Lanka in the first Galle test, chasing a massive total of 342, thanks to Abdullah Shafique’s 160 not-out innings. However, they need to top that performance in the 2nd test, as Sri Lanka aims to give them an even bigger target to achieve this time.

As of now,  Sri Lanka is leading by 425 runs on the 4th day, with Dhananjaya de Silva well-settled at 74. With 5 more sessions to go, they are in a good position to set a target of 450 or more; some aggressive stroke and they have a good chance of reaching 500.

Sri Lankan team came back strongly in the 2nd test after facing a crushing defeat in the first one. They looked in control from the get-go. Sri Lanka posted 378 runs in the first innings with a healthy run rate of 3.66, against a spin-heavy Pakistani attack. Pakistan made two changes in their team for the second test, bringing Fawad Alam back in place of Azhar Ali, while Nouman Ali replaced injured Shaheen Afridi. Dinesh Chandimal once again topped the scoreboard for Sri Lanka scoring 80 runs, but it was Oshada Fernando whose 70-ball 50 at the top-order put Pakistan bowlers in a defensive position. Naseem Shah bowled exceptionally for his 3 wickets against free-flowing Sri Lankan batters.

Pakistan’s inning started with a setback when Abdullah went back to the pavilion on the second ball of the innings. Captain Babar Azam had to promote himself to no. 3 in Azhar Ali’s absence, but he soon followed Abdullah back to the dressing room. Sri Lankan bowlers kept the pressure on and reduced Pakistan to 119 for 5 at one point. Agha Salman, playing his second test showed resilience to help his team avoid the follow-on. He scored a gritty 62 runs knock while wickets kept tumbling on the other end. Sri Lankan off-spinner Ramesh Mendis was the man behind Pakistan’s debacle, as he picked up 5 wickets for 47 runs. Sri Lanka’s latest spin sensation Jayasuriya did not stay back either, picking up 3 important wickets, including Babar Azam, and well-settled Salman Agha. Pakistan innings were wrapped around at a score of 231.

Sri Lanka started their second innings with a lead of 147. Pakistani bowlers managed to restrict Sri Lanka to 117 for 5. Captain Dimuth Karunaratne came out to bat at number 6 despite injury, and helped the team fight back with all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva. They added 126 runs for the 6th wicket, to help the team’s total reach 243 and their lead at 390. They are en route to 450 runs mark to give Pakistan a tough challenge. Pakistani batters need to produce a masterclass to draw this test, let alone win this. Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam, and Fawad Alam would be the key for Pakistan in the second innings. Abdullah Shafique is expected to repeat his heroics from the first Galle Test.