If you have to describe the opening day proceedings of the Rawalpindi Test in one word, its got to be- topsy-turvy! After having dropped their premier spinner, Yasir Shah, in favor of fielding a four-man pace attack, the fast bowlers looked toothless in the opening session after Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne won the toss and decided to bat first against Pakistan on what looked like difficult surface to bat on the first morning.
But the opening duo of Oshada Fernando and Karunaratne- courtesy their grit and of-course the listlessness of Pakistan seamers- saw off the first two hours with aplomb and ensured that the visitors went into lunch unscathed. But, as they say, you underestimate Pakistan at your own peril. You just don’t know what you’ll get from them.
To be honest, even they don’t have any idea as to what will follow. The post-lunch session testified that to the hilt as Pakistan seamers- Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Abbas, and Usman Khan Shinwari- stormed back into the game to wrestle back the momentum in their favour. And, they did it rather symmetrically with each of the four bowlers sharing a wicket each.
Bad light forced a premature end to the day’s play
It all started when Shaheen Shah Afridi (1-37) trapped Karunaratne (59) in front of the wickets before Usman Shinwari induced an outside edge off Kusal Mendis’ bat (10) to claim his maiden Test wicket. Naseem Shah was finally rewarded for his persistence when he induced Oshada Fernando into poking away from his body before Mohammad Abbas cleaned up former captain Dinesh Chandimal (2), and suddenly Pakistan was on top.
Sri Lanka- courtesy a 62-run-stand between Angelo Matthews (31) and Dhananjaya de Silva (38*)- wrestled back some of the momentum before the former decided to have a whack at a widish delivery from Shah, only to see Asad Shafiq gobble a simple catch in the slips.
In the end, bad light and poor over-rate by the Pakistani bowlers played a pivotal role in ensuring that 22.5 overs were lost on the opening day of the historic Test between the home side and Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi. Sri Lanka ended the day at 202/5 with Dhananjaya de Silva unbeaten on 38 along with Niroshan Dickwella. Karunaratne was the top-scorer of the day for them with 59 runs.
Here’s how Twitter reacted:
Shaheen Shah Afridi 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 #PAKvsSL
— Shoaib Malik 🇵🇰 (@realshoaibmalik) December 11, 2019
Feels so good to watch Pak bowlers celebrating wkts at our homeground. Alhumdullilah test cricket returned to Pak. InShaALLAH this will open doors for more tours. Excited to watch our batters too! Last but not the least, a friend in need is a friend indeed, thank you Sri Lanka 💙
— Rumman Raees (@rummanraees15) December 11, 2019
— Ian bishop (@irbishi) December 11, 2019
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) December 11, 2019
All de best boys for the first test against Pakistan. Have a great game. May god bless u all. @IamDimuth @chandi_17 @Angelo69Mathews @KusalMendis1 @KusalJPerera @dds75official @NiroshanDikka @OfficialSLC
— Dhammika Prasad (@imDhammika) December 11, 2019
I welcome Test Cricket back to Pakistan. Specially, to my city Rawalpindi.
When your players play at home, they become heroes, this is what inspires a young generation to take up a sport and idolize greatness.#PAKvSL #Rawalpindi
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) December 11, 2019
A historic day for Pakistan cricket. Alhamdulillah cricket returns home. Good luck to both teams #PAKvsSL
— Junaid khan 83 (@JunaidkhanREAL) December 11, 2019
When was the last time a test played in Asia by a team without main spinner. #PAKvSL
— Majid (@majidwas) December 11, 2019
How slow was the over rate today? #PAKvSL
— Ahmed (@ahmed__ikram) December 11, 2019
So Pakistan play with 4 Pacers and no front line attacking spinner. 20 odd overs short and they persist with the Pacers. They use Shan Masood ahead of the likes of Asad Shafiq and Azhar himself 🤦🏽♂️🤦🏽♂️🤦🏽♂️ that is ludacris. #PAKvSL
— Raheel🇵🇰 (@Raheel0194) December 11, 2019
Great come back by Pakistan bowling attack! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Fantastic bowling by Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Usman Shinwari & also Mohammad Abbas! 👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻
Good luck Pakistan! 🇵🇰#PAKvSL
— Mohammad Bilal 🇵🇰 (@M_Bilal49) December 11, 2019
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