Dhananjaya de Silva and Angelo Mathews showcased their batting prowess with impressive half-centuries, guiding Sri Lanka from a shaky start of 54-4 before lunch to a commendable 185-5 at tea on the first day of the Test match against Pakistan on Sunday.
De Silva, unbeaten at 74, and Mathews, who scored 64, built a formidable partnership of 131 runs. However, their momentum was halted when Pakistan’s leg-spinner, Abrar Ahmed, managed to break the stand, resulting in the umpires calling for tea in Galle.
Pakistan’s pace ace, Shaheen Shah Afridi, proved to be a formidable force, claiming three crucial wickets that rocked the hosts during a rain-interrupted opening day of play.
Mathews, playing in his 105th Test match, demonstrated his experience by achieving his 39th half-century in the five-day format. De Silva, on the other hand, reached his fifty in style, smashing a six.
With the pair appearing settled at the crease and de Silva unleashing boundaries with confidence, Ahmed successfully dismissed the former captain, Mathews, caught behind.
During the lunch break, officials extended the session by an hour to compensate for the rain delay that lasted approximately 90 minutes. Sri Lanka seemed to be in a precarious situation, but they displayed remarkable resilience.
Shaheen, a left-arm speedster in his 26th Test appearance, reached the milestone of 100 wickets upon his return from injury. He dismissed Nishan Madushka for a mere four runs, caught behind, in his second over.
The 23-year-old Pakistani star had previously suffered a knee injury at the same venue a year ago. Despite a rain interruption in Galle, Shaheen struck again when play resumed, taking the wicket of Kusal Mendis, who scored 12 runs.
Captain Dimuth Karunaratne fought back with a few boundaries, but Shaheen eventually got the better of him. Karunaratne was caught behind after contributing 29 runs, attempting a glance down the leg side.
Fast bowler Naseem Shah joined the action and swiftly dismissed Dinesh Chandimal for just one run with a rapid delivery. Pakistan’s skipper, Babar Azam, executed a difficult catch at third slip to complete the dismissal.
Sri Lanka, having faced early struggles, managed to claw their way back into the game thanks to the exceptional partnership between De Silva and Mathews. The stage is set for an intriguing second session as both teams strive for dominance in the Galle Test.