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Batters cement Pakistan’s domination over SLC President XI

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HAMBANTOTA: Pakistan batters capitalized on the strong foundation laid by their bowlers to put the touring side in complete command on the opening day of the tour match against Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President XI.

At the stumps on Day 1, Pakistan were three down for 160 with a meagre and were 36 runs behind.

Pakistan openers Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique displayed dominance and scripted a decent start for the touring side with a 43-run partnership for the first wicket.

The pair looked in complete control until Kavishka Anjula got rid of Shafique in the 14th over, who could score 25 off 44 deliveries, hitting three boundaries.

Shan Masood then joined Imam in the middle and put Pakistan in control with a brisk 92-run partnership for the second wicket which lasted when the latter fell in the 29th over.

The left-handed opener scored a cautious 36 from 75 balls with the help of five boundaries.

Shan Masood was the star with the bat for Pakistan, courtesy of his quickfire 83-run knock in just 67 deliveries, laced up with nine boundaries and three sixes. His sensational knock ended just two overs prior to the closure of play.

At the stumps, Pakistan captain Babar Azam was unbeaten with a 33-ball 14 with Salman Ali Agha on nought.

Put into bat first, the SLC President XI struggled against the ruthless Pakistan bowling attack and could only pile a modest 196 runs on the scoreboard.

Opening batter Oshada Fernando waged a lone battle for Sri Lanka with a gutsy century and played a marathon fighting knock.

The right-handed batter smashed 14 boundaries on his way to a 128-ball 109 before young pacer Aamer Jamal got rid of him.

Besides Fernando, no other SLC President XI batter could make a notable contribution. Kamindu Mendis (22) was the second top-scorer for the side while six of their batters failed to make it into the double figures.

Pacers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali led the bowling attack for Pakistan with three wickets each while Aamer Jamal and Abrar Ahmed bagged two each.

The two-day tour match will serve as an opportunity for Pakistan to get used to the Sri Lankan conditions and is currently underway at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium.

Following the conclusion of the tour match, Pakistan will take on Sri Lanka in a two-match Test series, their first assignment in the newly-started World Test Championship (WTC) 2023-25 cycle.

The first Test of the series will take place from July 16 to 20 at Galle International Cricket Stadium while the second Test will be held from July 24 to 28 in Colombo.

Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan, Aamir Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Huraira, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Noman Ali, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Afridi and Shan Masood.

SLC President XI Squad: Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Oshada Fernando, Sandun Weerakkody, Kamindu Mendis – Captain, Ahan Wickremasinghe, Nipun Dhananjaya, Nuwanidu Fernando, Lakshitha Marnasinghe, Praveen Jayawickrama, Shashika Dulshan, Kavishka Anjula, Milan Ratnayake, Asanka Manoj, Mohammed Shiraz.

READ: Wanindu Hasaranga named ICC Men’s Player of the Month for June

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