Economy

Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq steady Pakistan in first Test against Srilanka

Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq steady Pakistan in first Test against Srilankaā€¯

Abbas was speaking to reporters during a press conference at Sheikh Zayed Stadium after bagging three wickets in Pakistan's first innings against Sri Lanka here.

Asad Shafiq added 39 in a stand of 79 with Azhar and, after he became Rangana Herath's second victim, Pakistan also lost Babar Azam to the last ball of the day after edging Nuwan Pradeep behind for 28.

A cautious Ali made sure Pakistan do not concede a big lead in the first innings, having hit only one boundary in his 26th Test half century.

Dimuth Karunaratne and Niroshan Dickwella were the other two top scorers for Sri Lanka in first innings with 93 and 83 runs respectively.

Babar's dismissal in the final over before stumps provided a welcome boost to Sri Lanka, but a draw appears the most likely outcome unless a generally lifeless surface deteriorates significantly on days four and five.

Shafiq proved a willing ally between lunch and tea, as Azhar brought up his 5,000-run milestone in his 115th Test innings.

Responding to a question about choosing three pace bowlers and only one spinner in XI, he defended that Pakistan has followed the same combination of the team that played against West Indies in the Caribbean tour earlier. Ali wisely reviewed a leg-before decision off Perera, but the ball hit his bat before the pad.

Both Ali and Shafiq survived confident appeals.

However, Sri Lanka, hit back by removing both of them in a space of two runs and send some jitters in the Pakistan camp.

The cricketer regretted not being able to take the wicket of Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal even after blowing off stumps in the air since it was declared a no-ball.



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