Pakistan’s teenage fast bowler Naseem Shah led the hosts’ recovery against Sri Lanka on a riveting opening day as test cricket returned to the country on Wednesday (December 11) for the first time since a militant attack in 2009.
Sri Lanka started strongly but Pakistan fought back through their four-pronged pace attack as the visitors reached 202 for five when bad light brought an end to the day’s play.
The two-match series marks Pakistan’s first tests on home soil since the attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore a decade ago and the current touring side have been promised watertight security during the visit.
In the presence of a small crowd at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne won the toss and opted to bat under overcast skies.
Karunaratne and his opening partner Oshada Fernando gave them a solid start, adding 96 for the first wicket as Pakistan’s fast bowlers toiled though a wicketless first session.
Shaheen Afridi gave Pakistan the first breakthrough when he dismissed Karunaratne, who was also hit on the back of the neck by Naseem Shah, leg before for 59.
Fernando, who played the last of his two tests in February against South Africa, fell to Naseem after a well-made 40.
The 16-year-old Naseem, who played his maiden test against Australia last month, also accounted for the experienced Angelo Mathews.
(Production: Salahuddin/Sheree Sardar)