ABU DHABI Sept 28 (TNS): Sri Lanka batting at 88 for the loss of three wickets after Lunch break as opener Karunaratne (50) and Captain Chandimal (09) were holding the crease in the first Test against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Thursday.
In the morning session of the match, leg-spinner Yasir Shah grabbed two wickets to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 61-3. Shah dismissed Kusal Mendis for 10 in the last over before the interval after earlier removing opener Kaushal Silva for 12 on greenish wicket of Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
Earlier, fast bowler Hassan Ali grabbed first Sri Lankan wicket for Pakistan.
Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal won the toss and elected to bat first against fellow South Asian rivals. But the visitors lose two early wickets of JK Silva and Thirmanne to Hassan Ali and Yasir Shah within 20 overs of the match.
Pakistan has fielded three specialist seamers in Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, and Mohammad Abbas, and only spinner Yasir Shah. Haris Sohail has made his debut and Sami Aslam was the other batsman to enter the playing XI in the first Pakistan Test which will be played after retirement of iconic duo Misbah-Ul-Haq and Younis Khan.
Pakistani skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, who will make his debut as Test captain, is confident that his team mainly comprising young players will cope with the absence of two cricket legends after their retirement.
The duo made Pakistan invincible for years that they have lost none of the nine Test series they played in UAE.
The Pakistani skipper admitted that it will be tough to replace them.
Addressing a presser yesterday, Ahmed said that he has learnt a lot from Misbah and Younis, adding: “The team’s morale is very good. The series will be a good exposure for everybody. It will be the first time in many years that we have a very young team taking the field.”
“Both sides comprise young players and the series will be challenging for either team,” he added.
Subsequently, Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal – in the pre-match press conference – said that his team will have an advantage over Pakistan in the two-match test series in absence of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.
Chandimal said that his team is going to face a strong competitor as Pakistan has recently won the ICC Champions’ Trophy.
“The Sri Lanka squad comprises bowlers with fine bowling performances, our team is balanced,” he added.
Anticipating a tough competition, Chandimal vowed that his team will demonstrate impressive performance against Pakistan.
Pakistan: Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Mohammad Amir, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali
Sri Lanka: Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep
Umpires: Ian Gould (ENG) and Nigel Llong (ENG)
TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
ICC match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)