Abdullah Shafique's unbeaten 160 seals record chase as Pakistan win Galle Test

Visitors chase down 342-run target with four wickets in hand against Sri Lanka on Wednesday

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Pakistan completed a record chase in the Galle Test with opener Abdullah Shafique hitting an unbeaten 160 to seal a thrilling four-wicket win on Wednesday.

Shafique hit seven boundaries and a six in his 408-ball innings that sealed victory for Pakistan and handed them a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

Left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuriya took a match haul of nine wickets but his efforts were in vain as the visitors chased down a target of 342, to overtake the previous best chase in Galle of 268 by Sri Lanka against New Zealand in 2019.

Shafique, 22, hit a second ton in six Tests, and built crucial partnerships including a 101-run third-wicket stand with captain Babar Azam, who made 55 after his 119 in the first innings on a challenging surface.

However, he did get some reprieves. Shafique was lucky to survive an lbw appeal when he was on four. He was dropped on 70 by wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella on day four and on the fifth day Dhananjaya de Silva failed to collect a return catch when Shafique was on 135 and Kasun Rajitha put down a chance in the outfield with the batsman on 151.

Shafique teamed up with Mohammad Nawaz, 19 not out, to take the visitors home after a brief rain interruption halted their charge.

Pakistan had a few anxious moments after Jayasuriya, who sent back Azam before the close on day four, struck at the stroke of lunch to get debutant Salman Ali Agha out for 12. Hasan Ali fell for five in the second over of the second session after being promoted up the order to hit out the remaining runs. But the visitors held their nerves to seal victory.

After the win, player-of-the-match Shafique said batting got easier the longer batsmen stayed on the Galle surface.

"It was difficult but with time it was easier. Spinners with the new ball were slightly tough to play. Babar is one of the best in the world. We have learnt so much from him. I enjoyed batting with him in the middle," he said.

Captain Azam thanked Pakistan's tailenders for helping him score a ton in the first innings after they were reduced to 85-7.

"I am thankful to tailenders Yasir Shah and Naseem Shah for helping me in the first innings. When I was batting with Abdullah Shafique, we were just trying to build a partnership. He has shown his class," the captain added.

The second Test starts Sunday, also in Galle, after it was moved from Colombo due to the political unrest in Sri Lanka.

Updated: July 20, 2022, 10:40 AM