Match Report:


Super Shafique turns tide as Pakistan eye record chase

A brilliant unbeaten century from in-form opener Abdullah Shafique changed the course of the Galle Test and has Pakistan well set ahead of day five

Pakistan's Abdullah Shafique smashed his second Test hundred to put the tourists on course to accomplish a mammoth chase against Sri Lanka in Galle.

Pakistan finished day four on 3-222 needing 120 runs to grab the lead in the two-Test series.

Sri Lanka had appeared to have the upper hand in the contest after posting 337 in their second innings, setting Pakistan a daunting target of 342.

Shafique combined with Imam-ul-Haq (35) in an opening stand of 87 and later raised 101 with skipper Babar Azam (55) in a vastly improved batting display by the tourists who were skittled out for 218 in the first innings.

Shafique's unbeaten 112 contained five fours and a six and he had Mohammad Rizwan on seven at the other end at stumps.

Image Id: 78D8146EFBDD4673982383111C8E77FB Image Caption: Babar Azam and Abdullah Shafique put on 101 together // AFP

However, Shafique and Imam did not look very convincing when Pakistan began their chase.

Imam was dropped at cover and had an lbw decision against him reversed, while Shafique survived a strong leg-before appeal.

Imam's innings ended in a bizarre manner when he played inside the line of a ball from spinner Ramesh Mendis then, after holding his pose for a beat, stepped forward and marginally lifted his back foot as the in the process allowing Niroshan Dickwella to effect a lightning-fast stumping.

It recalled a similar stumping by then Australian keeper Peter Nevill on Australia's 2016 tour of Sri Lanka when the Aussie gloveman effected a near identical dismissal of Dimuth Karunaratne.

2016: Nifty Nev's stumping does for Karunaratne

Sri Lanka seemed back in charge when Jayasuriya had Azhar Ali caught in the slip for six.

Babar, who smashed a century in the first innings, opened his account with a flicked four off Jayasuriya and hit the spinner over deep midwicket for a six in his next over as he passed 3000 Test runs for his career.

Shafique took a single off Maheesh Theekshana to bring up his hundred and celebrated the milestone by kissing his helmet and embracing his captain Babar.

Shafique set a new record for the most runs scored by a Pakistan batter in their first six Test matches, having passed fifty on six occasions in his 11 innings so far, including his maiden century against Australia in Rawalpindi earlier this year.

Jayasuriya bowled Babar around his legs in the final session but Pakistan appear to have their nose ahead in the contest.