The first day’s play between Pakistan and Sri Lanka ended with honours even in a historic moment as test cricket returned to Pakistan shores after a gap of 10 years played at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi on Wednesday.
Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne won the toss and decided to bat first. Karunaratne played with confidence against the Pakistani bowling line up. Oshando Fernando did not get much off the strike in the initial overs. The Sri Lankan captain looked steady with his stroke play. Sri Lanka scored 38 runs in the first hour. Making his test debut, Shinwari bowled a beauty which hit the bails but did not dislodged. Karunaratne reached his fifty with a streaky boundary off 90 balls. Fernando gained his confidence with aggressive stroke play. At the lunch break, Sri Lanka were 89 for 0.
It was an ideal start for the Pakistani team in the 2nd session as Shaheen Shah Afridi got the breakthrough dismissing Karunaratne with a yorker of delivery which hit the pads. Karunaratne decided to review but the umpire decided to stay with decision. Karunaratne and Fernando added 96 runs for the first wicket. Naseem Shah troubled Kusal Mendis and Fernando with good swing bowling. As a result, Shah got the wicket of Fernando for 40 as the catch went into slips hands. Usman Shinwari dismissed Kusal Mendis to get his maiden Test wicket. Mohammad Abbas produced a stunning delivery to dismiss Dinesh Chandimal to put Sri Lanka under pressure at 127 for 4. The experienced Angleo Mathews and Dhananjaya de Silva looked steady as the visitors went into break at 137 for 4.
After the tea break, Mathews and Dhanajaya de Silva looked positive with their intent hitting fours to put pressure back on Pakistani bowlers. After the drinks break, Naseem Shah got the big wicket of Mathews with a good catch from Asad Shafiq at slips. Mathews and Dhanajaya de Silva added 62 runs for the 5th wicket. All the Pakistani pace bowlers did not allow Sri Lankan batsmen to score runs with ease. With 21.5 overs left in the day, bad light arrived, and the umpires called off the day. Sri Lanka ended the first day on 202 for 5.
Sri Lanka 202 for 5 in 68.1 overs ( Dimuth Karunaratne 59, Oshando Fernando 40, Naseem Shah 2/51, Shaheen Shah Afridi 1/37)