Abdullah Shafique starred with a sensational 160* as he guided Pakistan to a record victory over Sri Lanka in Galle.
Sri Lanka lose both reviews
Pakistan resumed Day 5 on 222/3, requiring 120 runs to record the highest successful run chase (in Tests) at the Galle International Stadium while Sri Lanka needed seven wickets. The first half an hour of action was filled with a few close calls, beautiful bowling and the hosts losing both of their remaining reviews.
First, a slider from Prabath Jayasuriya struck centurion Abdullah Shafique on the back-pad, with umpire Kumar Dharmasena signalling the bowler about the height. However, with the game at a crucial stage and Shafique's prized wicket at stake, Sri Lanka went for the review. Shafique survived the LBW scare after the replays showed the ball had bounced over and was missing the wickets.
A few overs later, Jayasuriya once again bowled a beauty – drifting the ball in and using the bounce to spin it away. Mohammad Rizwan attempted a forward defence and the ball looked very close to the bat. The Sri Lanka contingent appealed, sounding positive for a caught-behind dismissal but the umpire was unperturbed. Sri Lanka used their last review, but the UltraEdge showed a flatline with no sign of the ball coming in contact with the bat. Rizwan survived; Sri Lanka were left stranded with no reviews.
A record chase in Tests at Galle
The previous highest successful fourth-innings chase in Galle was 268 by Sri Lanka versus New Zealand in 2019. This was the first time a team completed a target of over 300 at the venue.
Set batter Shafique found a reliable partner in Rizwan as they both batted with caution, taking their side close to victory. In the first hour, they added 48 runs, with only 72 more needed.
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Jayasuriya finally claimed a wicket when he had Rizwan trapped in front. Pakistan reviewed the decision but it went Sri Lanka's way, with Rizwan walking back for a solid 74-ball 40. The spinner struck on the stroke of lunch with Agha Salman's scalp as Pakistan finished the morning session on 298/5. The visitors lost another wicket shortly after the break, with Hasan Ali getting caught in the deep.
But victory was on the cards for Pakistan, and Shafique with his sensational 160* – his highest innings score in Tests – made sure to bat through till the end to help his side seal a record chase. With the knock, Shafique climbed to No.4 on the all-time list of most runs scored after six Test matches. His 720 runs puts him behind Sunil Gavaskar (912), Sir Don Bradman (862) and George Headley (730).
Highest successful run chase in Tests at Galle:
|2019||268||Sri Lanka||New Zealand|
Changes to the World Test Championship standings
Before the start of this Test, Sri Lanka with 54.17 percentage points were third on the list only behind table-toppers South Africa, and Australia while Pakistan were fourth, with 52.38 percentage points.
After the historic victory, Pakistan soared to the No.3 spot with 58.33% points. The loss resulted in Sri Lanka not only losing their No.3 spot but also slipping three positions to No.6, below Pakistan, India (52.08%) and West Indies (50%).
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