In a captivating display of skill and determination, Saud Shakeel shone with a remarkable century alongside Salman Ali Agha, propelling Pakistan to a first-innings lead of 18 runs against Sri Lanka on the third day of the opening Test at Galle on Tuesday.
After a brief rain delay, Pakistan resumed their batting innings with Shakeel and Agha at the crease. The pair showcased exceptional resilience, forging the highest sixth-wicket partnership of 177 runs. However, their impressive stand was eventually halted by Ramesh Mendis, dismissing Agha for a commendable 83.
Leading the charge, Saud Shakeel remained unbeaten at 123, steering Pakistan to a score of 330-7 in 73.3 overs. Mendis struck once again, claiming the wicket of Nauman Ali, who contributed a valuable 25 runs to the team’s total.
Pakistan’s recovery was a testament to their positive intent, turning the tables from a precarious position of 101 for five to a formidable 221 for five on the second day before early closure due to bad light and light showers. This resolute fightback not only brought them closer to Sri Lanka’s first-innings score of 312, trailing by 91 runs, but also forced the Sri Lankan side into a defensive approach.
Saud Shakeel and Salman Ali Agha’s calculated and well-executed counterattack showcased the true spirit of Pakistan cricket. Their aggressive play not only bolstered the team’s chances in the match but also showcased their mettle on the international stage. As the Asia Cup 2023 approaches, this outstanding performance by Shakeel and Agha adds to the growing highlights of Pakistan cricket and instills confidence in the team’s prospects for the tournament.