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16-Jul-2023 13:44:00 GMT
SL v PAK - 1st Test, Galle

Dhananjaya and Afridi the stars of an action-packed day

Sri Lanka 242 for 6 (Dhananjaya 94*, Mathews 64, Afridi 3-63) vs Pakistan

Galle: Shaheen Afridi was back to doing what he does best – picking up early wickets as the pacer ran through Sri Lanka's top order in the morning session of the first Test in Galle.

Shaheen Afridi last played a Test match almost a year ago and incidentally, it was at Galle against Sri Lanka.

One year later, after multiple injury setbacks, he is back on the same ground against the same opposition and it looks like Afridi still hasn't missed a beat.

The left-arm quick remained stranded on 99 Test wickets since July last year but it didn't take him long to get to the milestone.

In fact, in just the second over of his return, Afridi became the 19th bowler from Pakistan to claim 100 wickets in Test cricket.

Afridi was far from firing at full-tilt speeds but troubled the batters with incredible movement in the air and off the pitch.

Sri Lanka opener Nishan Madushka was the victim, who couldn't deal with the angle and movement Afridi produced. The 23-year-old added two more wickets in his eight-over long opening spell, squaring up Kusal Mendis for his second before removing the solid Dimuth Karunaratne.

At 23 years of age, only two other Pakistan bowlers had achieved the feat of 100 Test wickets – Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. Akram, who is the all-time highest wicket-taker for Pakistan in Test cricket, hailed Afridi after he got to his 100-wicket milestone.

After Afridi's early inroads, Angelo Mathews and Dhananjaya de Silva built up an incredible 131-run partnership to lead Sri Lanka's fightback. The partnership came to an end on the stroke of tea, with Abrar Ahmed getting the scalp of Mathews, who walked back for 64, leaving Sri Lanka's total at 185/5.

The final session of the day was truncated by rain. On either side of the break, Dhananjaya and Sadeera Samarawickrama added a crucial 57-run stand for the sixth wicket.

With stumps approaching, Imam-ul-Haq grabbed a stunning catch to end the stand as Sri Lanka finished the day at 242/6, with Dhananjaya de Silva still unbeaten on 94.

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