Saud Shakeel in action for Pakistan cricket team© AFP
Pakistan batter Saud Shakeel has been enjoying the form of his life. He started his Test career with multiple solid knocks and he created history by becoming the first Pakistan cricketer to score a double ton in Sri Lanka when he scored an unbeaten 208 during the first Test match in Galle. It was the 45th double ton by any Pakistan batter but irrespective of the records, the innings also did wonders to his batting average. At present, Shakeel boasts of an average of 90.88 – the second-highest for any batter after at least 10 innings only behind the legendary Don Bradman (99.94). No other batter has average over 90 in the same span.
Opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq hit an unbeaten 50 to steer Pakistan home in the first Test against Sri Lanka on Thursday, passing their tricky target of 131 with four wickets to spare.
The tourists started the final day on 48-3 and lost three more wickets, including skipper Babar Azam for 24, to spinner Prabath Jayasuriya before reaching 133-6 in the first session in Galle.
Haq started the day on 25 and remained calm with Azam and then left-handed partner Saud Shakeel, who made a brisk 30 after his unbeaten 208 in Pakistan’s first innings.
“When you win the match, you gain confidence,” Azam said after Pakistan collected the 12 points on offer for the win in the new World Test Championship cycle.
“Credit to the boys and the youngsters.”
Left-armer Jayasuriya took four wickets, including two in the final session on Wednesday, to give the hosts a glimmer of hope but Haq stood firm.
Azam came out roaring, hitting a boundary off the first ball of the day, and looked fluent in his 28-ball stay before being trapped lbw by Jayasuriya.
Shakeel also took on the bowlers but off-spinner Ramesh Mendis had him caught behind.
Haq reached his eighth Test fifty before Jayasuriya snared Sarfaraz Ahmed for one and Agha Salman came out to hit the winning six with his first ball.
(With AFP inputs)
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