Sri Lanka conceded a huge advantage on Day 1 as they got bundled out for just 222 on Day 1 after winning the toss in the first Test against Pakistan. To put their poor batting into perspective, the last two wickets added 89 runs between them. However, their strong spin attack can still curtail Pakistan, who ended the day two down for 24 runs. A lot will depend on the first two sessions of Day 2 as Sri Lanka will try to regain control of the Test. We take a look at a few stats from Day 1 of the subcontinental clash.
Shaheen Afridi leads the attack
Shaheen Shah Afridi has been phenomenal for Pakistan since his debut. In just four years, he has grown to become the leader of the bowling attack. The young left-arm quick put his skills on display at Galle on Day 1 as the Lankan batters couldn’t settle against him.
Only Pat Cummins from Australia has more international wickets since Afridi’s debut in April 2018. Afridi has the second-best strike rate among the top 10 wicket-takers, behind Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan, who strikes every 28 balls.
Afridi might have been a touch expensive on Day 1, but he kept targeting the stumps. He was also rewarded whenever he pitched the ball a bit fuller as three of his wickets came from that length. Afridi was the standout bowler from Pakistan, whose 4/58 was a huge reason behind Sri Lanka being bowled in a little over two sessions.
Yasir’s excellent comeback
The last time Yasir Shah played a Test match for Pakistan was way back in August 2021 against West Indies. Since then, he has played just one First-Class game, in December 2021. Coming after a seven-month break, Shah didn’t look like a bowler who lacked match fitness or rhythm.
Shah picked up two wickets on the opening day, but they were huge wickets. He nicked off Mendis off a ball that wasn’t too short to cut, but his trajectory and arm speed foxed the batter. His second wicket might have come off a reckless shot from Angelo Matthews, but it was a result of sustained pressure from him. He did not let Matthews get off the hook by providing any loose balls and maintained an extremely tight line.
With Matthews’ wicket, Shah moved past Abdul Qadir in Pakistan’s wicket-takers list in Test matches. The veteran spinner now has 237 wickets in Tests, fifth-most for Pakistan. sho
Chandimal’s lone fight
After winning the toss and batting first, Dinesh Chandimal wouldn’t have hoped to come out to bat after just an hour into the day. Coming on the back of a career-best inning, Chandimal continued his rich vein of form and batted with total control.
Despite regularly losing partners at the other end, Chandimal held his end and kept chipping away with runs. By the time he was dismissed for a brilliant 76, he had scored 42.9% of the team’s score. And to do that while being in control of 93% of his 115 balls, was an illustration of his batting form.
All is not lost for Sri Lanka yet, as they ended the day with two wickets and didn’t let the visitors get away. Pakistan will start Day 2 with two of their best batters at the crease and look to bat the entire day. For Sri Lanka, a lot will depend on their inexperienced spinners, who have been top-notch, so far.