In Thursday’s cricket match, Pakistan achieved a hard-fought four-wicket victory against Sri Lanka in the first test. Despite losing wickets consistently, Pakistan’s opening batsman, Imam-ul-Haq, delivered an exceptional performance, scoring an unbeaten half-century. This was his eighth half-century in test cricket. Imam played a leading role in guiding the team to victory before lunch on the fifth day.
During the match, Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat, scoring 312 runs in their first innings. Pakistan responded strongly with 461 runs in their first innings. In the second innings, Sri Lanka set a target of 131 runs for Pakistan to win. However, Pakistan encountered a shaky start and concluded day four at 48 for three.
On the final day, Pakistan required 83 runs to secure victory. There were memories of a previous match in 2009 at Galle where they struggled in a similar situation. However, this time, Babar Azam contributed 41 runs for the fourth wicket alongside Imam, making the run chase appear relatively straightforward. Nevertheless, Sri Lanka’s Prabath Jayasuriya dismissed the Pakistan captain for 24, providing Sri Lanka with a glimmer of hope.
Later, Saud Shakeel and Imam formed a crucial partnership of 43 runs for the fifth wicket. Saud displayed great skill against the spinners with his footwork. However, he was eventually dismissed after playing an elegant cover drive. Jayasuriya continued to perform well, claiming his fourth wicket when Sarfraz Ahmed fell while attempting a sweep shot.
Despite losing wickets at the other end, Imam remained resilient and finished the match undefeated on 50 runs. He faced 84 deliveries, hitting four fours and one six. When Agha Salman joined the game after the fall of the sixth wicket, Pakistan only needed four runs for victory. Salman sealed the deal by hitting Jayasuriya for a six-over long-off.
Saud Shakeel was named the man of the match for his impressive double-century in the first innings, which played a pivotal role in giving Pakistan an advantage.
The second test is scheduled to commence next Monday in Colombo.