Pakistan draws 1st test against Sri Lanka
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Mohammad Hafeez notched his first test half century in 11 innings and foiled Sri Lanka’s hopes for victory as Pakistan secured a draw in the first test on Saturday.
Hafeez made an unbeaten 80 and Ahmed Shehzad scored 55 as Pakistan earned the draw by reaching 158-2 in their second innings after Sri Lanka had set a daunting 302-run target in a possible 67 overs on the last day.
Resuming day five at 420-5, captain Angelo Mathews (157 not out) and Prasanna Jayawardene (63 not out) frustrated Pakistan’s bowlers for another 1 ½ hours to extend their partnership to 156 runs before the declaration came at 480-5.
“This is the best I have batted for my country,” Mathews said after receiving his man of the match award for scoring only his second test hundred.
Hafeez had scored only 113 runs in his previous 11 test innings but was recalled for the test series after scoring three centuries in Pakistan’s 3-2 win against Sri Lanka in the one-day series.
Hafeez hit 11 fours and faced 136 balls in his unbeaten knock while Younis Khan, who scored a century in the first innings, was not out on 13 when both captains decided to call off the match with 15 overs remaining in the test.
“We need to improve a few things going forward, especially with how we collapsed in the first innings,” Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said.
Pakistan took a 179-run first innings lead by making 383 with Misbah scoring 135, but lost the last six wickets for 56 runs.
Paceman Suranga Lakmal had Khurram Manzoor (8) caught behind soon after the lunch break, but Hafeez and Shehzad were hardly fazed on a batting-friendly wicket in a 101-run stand.
Hafeez was dropped for the two-test series against South Africa last October, but justified his recall at the No. 3 spot ahead of test specialist Azhar Ali by continuing his ODI form in the longer format of the game.
He smashed seven boundaries in his fifty off 68 balls before tea, hitting debutant offspinner Sachithra Senanayake for two successive fours.
Shehzad also raised a half century with seven boundaries in his debut test just before tea by cutting Rangana Herath to third man boundary before falling to the leftarm spinner soon after the break.
Mathews, who batted the entire fourth day, faced 343 balls and hit 16 fours and a six and the only blemish in his career-best knock in 7 ½ hour stay at the wicket came on 138 when Shehzad dropped a difficult catch off a top-edged reverse sweep.
Jayawardene, 48 overnight, completed his half century with a pulled boundary off Bilawal Bhatti in the second over of the day, but Pakistan made sure Sri Lanka did not compile quick runs before Mathews finally declared half an hour before lunch. Jayawardene faced 169 balls and hit six fours and a six.
Mathews revived Sri Lanka with a brilliant 138-run fourth wicket stand with his deputy Dinesh Chandimal (89) on the fourth day after they were only ahead by seven runs by the third day’s play and had lost the top four batsmen.
“Not all the batters can do their job every day, so whoever gets in has to score some runs,” said Mathews, who also scored 91 in Sri Lanka’s first innings of 204.
Pakistan’s bowlers struggled to get through the defenses of Mathews with Junaid Khan taking 3-93 and Bhatti 2-146. Ajmal bowled 49 overs but returned wicket-less for only the fifth time in an innings of his 31-test career, conceding 115 runs.
The second test begins in Dubai from Jan. 8 while Sharjah will host the third and final test from Jan. 16.