RAWALPINDI          -       Sri Lankans enjoyed massive advantage of rain and bad light, which forced early stumps on the second day of the first Test against hosts Pakistan here at Pindi Cricket Stadium on Thursday.

Rain once again deprived massive crowd of witnessing both teams in action for almost entire day. The match started at the scheduled time, a Sri Lankan pair of Silva and Dickwella started the innings at 202 for the loss of 5 wickets in 68.1 overs, but only after hardly 7 overs play, heavy rain started to fall and covers were rushed to the field. The grounds men did a fantastic job, as they, without wasting a single second, covered the entire playing area. The rain continued to fall for almost three hours. The umpires inspected the outfield at 12:00pm, when rain finally stopped, but it was decided that the umpires would check the outfield again at 1:00pm. The match finally resumed at 1:45pm.

Although the rain was predicted, but the crowd remained present at the venue for entire day, hoping the play might resume and finally, their prayers and passion paid off and Haris Sohail was brought into the attack. It was clearly evident that skipper Azhar Ali is working on a plan as he wanted to rush off four hours, before new ball was available. Asad Shafiq bowled two overs from the other end. Silva survived a very close LBW appeal off the bowling of Haris, while Silva was also lucky to remain at the crease, as he was walking off the field, as he nicked to wicketkeeper M Rizwan, but replays showed that ball had touched the ground.

As the new ball was available after the completion of 80 overs, Azhar Ali threw the ball towards Shaheen Shah, who bowled the 81st over first delivery with the old-ball narrowly missed the edge of Silva’s bat. Shaheen took the new ball on the very next delivery and kept the batsmen panicked and his away swingers were too hot to handle for both Sri Lankan batsmen. Naseeem Shah also bowled with lot of venom and fire while Shinwari failed to disturb the batsmen.

Shaeen Shah then managed to give Pakistan breakthrough, as DIkwella was smartly caught at gully by Babar Azam. It was the only wicket to fall for the visitors, as it started raining again as only 18.2 overs were possible in the entire day. In the 82 minutes of play, which was played in two session, morning and afternoon, Dhanajaya de Silva was unbeaten at 72, as Lankans added 61 runs to their overnight total of 202 losing the wicket of wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella, who contributed 33, as Sri Lankan finished the day at 263-6 in 86.3 overs. Shaheen Shah was the only successful bowler on the second day, as he finished with 2-47 in 19.3 overs, while Naseem Shah picked 2-75 in 22 overs, Usman and Ababs shared a wicket each giving away 54 and 56 runs respectively.

It was once again wonderful crowd present at the venue, as PCB had announced free entry in general stands. The crowd, mainly based on youngsters and a few families and female spectators, were also present at the venue. Hats off to PCB Media Director Sami-ul-Hasan Burni, who lived up to his words and ensured calm in media centre and also deputed Shakeel Khan, Nazeer, Suleman and other PCB media department persons to take good care of national and international journalists.



(OVERNIGHT: 202-5):

Dimuth Karunaratne lbw b Shaheen 59

Oshada Fernando c Haris b Naseem 40

Kusal Mendis c Rizwan b Usman 10

Angelo Mathews c Asad b Naseem 31

Dinesh Chandimal b Abbas 2

Dhananjaya de Silva not out 72

Niroshan Dickwella c Babar b Shaheen 33

Dilruwan Perera not out 2

EXTRAS: (b5, lb6, nb3) 14

TOTAL: (6 wkts, 86.3 overs) 263

FOW: 1-96, 2-109, 3-120, 4-127, 5-189, 6-256.

BOWLING: Abbas 24-9-56-1; Shaheen 19.3-7-47-2; Usman 15-4-54-1; Naseem 22-4-75-2; Haris 3-0-12-0; Shan 1-1-0-0; Asad 2-0-8-0.

PAKISTAN: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan, Usman Shinwari, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi.

TOSS: Sri Lanka

UMPIRES: Richard Kettleborough, Michael Gough

TV UMPIRE: Richard Illingworth