Angelo Mathews scored his first Test century as a captain as Sri Lanka made a strong comeback in the first Test match against Pakistan at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday (January 3). It lost only one wicket on the fourth day and by stumps was on 420 for 5, extending the overall lead to 241 runs.
Mathews was unbeaten on 116 and giving him company was Prasanna Jayawardene (48*). The pair had put an unconquered 99-run stand to follow up on the good work done by Dinesh Chandimal and Mathews before that.
Resuming the day at 186 for 4, Chandimal and Mathews displayed solid technique to negate the Pakistan attack and put Sri Lanka in a strong position. Mathews was the star of the day. Curbing his natural instinct, he displayed enormous patience and waited for the loose deliveries to keep the scoreboard ticking. Saeed Ajmal, who bowled 42 overs for no success, was handled with precision, and the three-man pace attack was seen off without any worries.
Mathews, who joined Chandimal in the morning after Kaushal Silva was out off the last ball on Thursday, batted for 370 minutes, during which he hit 12 fours and a six.
At lunch, Sri Lanka reached 285 for 4 and the pair had seen off the second new ball, taken in the 80thover of the innings, easily.
In the second over after lunch, Chandimal got a life when Ahmed Shehzad failed on to hold a tough catch at second slip off the bowling of Bilawal Bhatti. However, Chandimal could not continue for long and hooked a short delivery from Junaid Khan to be caught by Rahat Ali at fine-leg for 89. Chandimal’s innings lasted for 251 minutes. It was Junaid’s third wicket of the innings.
That was Pakistan’s lone success for the day as Mathews and Prasanna comfortably guided Sri Lanka to a convincing position.
Pakistan’s day started on a bad note when it lost wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal because of a broken finger. While, Younis Khan stepped in as a stopgap wicketkeeper for the day, Sarfaraz Ahmed was named as the replacement for the remaining two games.
(Courtesy: International Cricket Council)