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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 1st Test 2023

Lunch Sri Lanka 312 and 94 for 3 (Madushka 47*, Noman 2-18) trail Pakistan 461 (Shakeel 208*, Ramesh Mendis 5-136) by 55 runs

Regular strikes gave Pakistan a stranglehold over the first Test match in Galle, with Sri Lanka losing three wickets and, at lunch on the fourth day, still 55 runs in arrears.

While Pakistan relied on their pace bowlers for early breakthroughs in the first innings, Galle’s reputation for spin-friendliness – especially towards the back-end of a Test – began to become apparent as Noman Ali and Abrar Ahmed shared the wickets on the fourth morning.

Dimuth Karunaratne and Nishan Madushka provided Sri Lanka with a solid start, after seeing off a few overs in the fading light the previous day. There wasn’t much rotation of the strike – it wasn’t until the tenth over and the 39th run that the first single was taken – but Sri Lanka picked up a boundary each over, and despite some probing lines from Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah, looked generally comfortable.

But Abrar’s introduction had an immediate impact, as an uncharacteristically loose shot from Karunaratne saw Agha Salman take a sensational catch diving low at midwicket. Madushka and Kusal Mendis returned calm to the innings even though the run rate slowed, seeing off the fast bowlers and looking reasonably assured against spin.

But a pair of strikes in the last half-hour from Noman turned things around. He first trapped Kusal Mendis in front, before a lovely delivery spinning away from Angelo Mathews caught the edge and was pouched smartly by Babar Azam at first slip.

Madushka was solid at the other end as he neared his half-century, but Sri Lanka are running out of time to turn this match around, with Pakistan sniffing their first Test win in a year.

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