Sri Lanka has won the first Test Match of the Q. Mobile Presents J Junaid Jamshed Cup 2017 test series, by a total of 21 runs today at Zayed Cricket Stadium.
It was a frantic finish towards the end of the day, with a flurry of runs, wickets, appeals and close calls, but it seemed to all be in Pakistan’s favour before lunch, taking an impressive six wickets. When Sri Lanka returned to the crease this morning on 69/4, their middle and tail-end batters were quickly dispatched. Spinner Yasir Shah was the star of the show with excellent figures of 5/51, helped by pace bowler Mohammad Abbas’ two-wicket haul. Sri Lanka’s wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella was the only real form of defence against the Pakistani onslaught, top-scoring for his side with an unbeaten 40. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 138, setting Pakistan a target of 136 runs to win the match.
Coming out to bat after lunch, Pakistan did anything but make things easy for themselves. Herath had Pakistan’s Sami Aslam caught with some magical bowling, before Lakmal continued the good work dispatching Azhar Ali to a catch behind, reducing Pakistan 7/2. If things couldn’t get any more tense, Pakistan opener Shan Masood was caught by a cunning Dilruwan delivery, further reducing Pakistan to 19/3 and spoiling the spectators with an exciting finale on day five. Further wickets fell with Shafiq and Azam falling to Perera and Herath in quick succession, alarmingly leaving Pakistan on 36/5. Captain Sarfraz and debutante Sohail momentarily steadied the ship contributing a 42-run partnership, before the responsibility overwhelmed Sarfraz and he was dismissed after he was befuddled by a Herath delivery and stumped by Dickwella.
Further drama ensued when Sohail fell leg-before-wicket to Dilruwan for 34, immediately after team-mate Hasan Ali hit a huge six in the previous over, reducing Pakistan to 98/7, with three wickets remaining, chasing a further 38 runs to win. Day 5 could not have been more exciting as the match continued to hang on a knife edge when Hasan Ali was bowled again by Sri Lanka’s hero Herath. Only Pakistan’s tail-enders now remained to face the final onslaught, but they were ill-equipped to resist the irresistible Herath, who dismissed Amir for 9. Needing only one wicket to win, Sri Lanka turned the final screw, trapping Abbas for a duck to seal a famous test match win in Abu Dhabi winning the match by 21 runs.
Reviewing the match, Pakistan’s Coach Mickey Arthur was reflective on his team’s performance in a close run match:
“Really disappointed with the ways things have panned out, I expected to chase down Sri Lanka’s total with one good partnership today. We have a young batting line-up but this is international cricket and the expectation is that you go out there and win test matches, call it pressure, I’m not sure.”
Sri Lanka’s Captain Dinesh Chandimal was jubilant with the result:
“It’s been tough in the heat and Pakistan are a great side, we never under-estimate them. For the second test we need to be prepared because they can be dangerous at any time.”
Tickets for the ODI and T20 matches in Abu Dhabi are available to purchase at www.q-tickets.com/sps and at Abu Dhabi Cricket reception at Zayed Cricket Stadium.
Abu Dhabi Cricket will also play host to Pakistan and Sri Lanka for two ODIs on Monday October 16th and Wednesday October 18th as well as two Twenty20s on Thursday October 26th and Friday October 27th. For further information and for ticket sales please visit www.abudhabicricket.ae.