Half-centuries from veteran all-rounder Angelo Mathews and batsman Dhananjay de Silva helped Sri Lanka bounce back on the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan at their home ground.
Dhananjay remained unbeaten on 94, studded with 10 fours and three sixes, as Sri Lanka reached 242–6 at stumps at the Galle International Cricket Stadium.
The home side were 54-4 down but Mathews and Dhananjay brought their side back into the game with a 198-ball 131-run stand for the fifth wicket.
However, spinner Abrar Ahmed handed the ball to wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed off Mathews at tea. He scored 64 runs with the help of nine fours.
Earlier, in the first Test, Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat against Pakistan, after which fast bowler Shaheen Afridi performed brilliantly.
Afridi, who returned to Test cricket after almost a year, took three wickets in the morning session on the first day.
The 23-year-old also completed 100 wickets in Test cricket after dismissing Sri Lankan opener Nishan Madushka (4) in the third over of the innings.
Afridi is the 19th Pakistani cricketer to register 100 wickets in the longest format of the game.
The left-handed batsman also dismissed Sri Lankan skipper Dimuth Karunaratne (29) and Kusal Mendis (12).
Naseem Shah and Dinesh Chandimal (1) also got a wicket each for the visiting team.
Late in the game, Imam-ul-Haq took a brilliant catch at short-leg off Agha Salman as Sadeera Samarawickrama (36) went back to the hut.
Please tell that the match was stopped due to rain in the sixth over and Sri Lanka was ahead of 18-1. After an hour and a half the game resumed and the players took to the field once again.
The match was interrupted by rain in the final session as well and only 65.4 overs could be bowled in the day.
In the seven Tests between the two sides in Galle so far, Sri Lanka have won four times in 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2022, while Pakistan have won three times in 2000, 2015 and 2022.
Sri Lanka: 1 Dimuth Karunaratne (c), 2 Nishan Madhushka, 3 Kusal Mendis, 4 Angelo Mathews, 5 Dinesh Chandimal, 6 Dhananjay de Silva, 7 Sadeera Samarawickrama (wk), 8 Ramesh Mendis, 9 Prabhat Jayasuriya, 10 Kasun Rajitha, 11 Vishwa Fernando
Pakistan: 1 Abdullah Shafiq, 2 Imam-ul-Haq, 3 Shan Masood, 4 Babar Azam (c), 5 Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), 6 Saud Shakeel, 7 Agha Salman, 8 Nauman Ali, 9 Naseem Shah, 10 Abrar Ahmed , 11 Shaheen Shah Afridi
16–20 July – First Test at Galle International Cricket Stadium
24-28 July – 2nd Test at Singley Sports Club, Colombo