Abu Dhabi: Leg-spinner Yasir Shah grabbed two wickets to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 61-3 at lunch on the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Shah dismissed Kusal Mendis for 10 in the last over before the interval after earlier removing opener Kaushal Silva for 12 to kick-start Pakistan on a greenish wicket at Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Opener Dimuth Karunaratne was unbeaten on 32. Silva had helped his fellow opener build a cautious start of 34 as Pakistan’s fast bowlers failed to get any assistance from the pitch.
The two-hour session saw only two boundaries as Pakistan, who entered the Test with three pace bowlers and one frontline spinner in Shah, pressed for wickets in the second hour. It was seamer Hasan Ali who gave Pakistan the breakthrough when Silva misjudged an incoming delivery and played on after scoring 12. Left-hander Lahiru Thirimanne, playing his first Test after a 15-month break, became Shah’s 150th Test wicket as he missed a full-length delivery and was trapped leg-before without scoring. Shah joins fellow countryman Waqar Younis as the joint second fastest to 150 wickets — both achieving the milestone in their 27th Test.
Australia’s Sydney Barnes holds the record after reaching 150 wickets in 24 Tests. Shah then had Mendis caught by keeper Sarfraz Ahmed on the stroke of lunch to give Pakistan an ideal first session.
The Test is Pakistan’s first without ace batsman Younis Khan and their most successful Test skipper, Misbah-ul-Haq, who retired in May. Pakistan handed a Test cap to batsman Haris Sohail, while Sri Lanka, who won the toss and opted to bat, went into the game with three spinners and two seamers.
English umpire Ian Gould became an early morning casualty as the 60-year-old suffered an upset stomach and was replaced by his fellow countryman Richard Kettleborough, originally the television umpire. Pakistan’s Ahsan Raza is now the television umpire and can be replaced by Gould in the TV room if he recovers by Friday morning. Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (capt), Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Rangana Herath, Lakshan Sandakan, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep
Umpires: Richard Kettleborough (ENG) and Nigel Llong (ENG)
TV umpire: Ahsan Raza (PAK)
ICC match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM) Agencies
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