I have seen a lot of games in Galle: Centurion Abdullah Shafique wary of collapse on final day vs Sri Lanka

Pakistan look to be on course for a record chase at the Galle International Stadium. The visitors have been aided by youngster Abdullah Shafique’s century

Abdullah Shafique en route his century vs Pakistan. (Courtesy: AP)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Pakistan need just 120 runs with seven wickets in hand
  • Abdullah Shafique is batting at 115 off 289 balls
  • Shafique was aided by Babar Azam’s century

Pakistan’s young opener Abdullah Shafique could turn out to be the main architect of the team’s record chase at Galle International Stadium against Sri Lanka on Wednesday, 20 July. The 22-year-old opener, who scored a special fourth innings century on Day 4 in a pitch that assisted spin bowling, will be a hero for the visiting side, if he is able to pull it off.

Speaking after the end of fourth day’s play, Shafique said that he was glad to score a century. He further added that he was aware of collapses in Galle.

“Happy to score my second hundred in the fourth innings chasing a big target on a pitch that has helped spin,” Shafique said. “But the bigger picture is seeing off the run chase. I have seen lot of games in Galle and it’s not easy to chase big targets here.

Talking about the strategy, Shafique said that it was important to play out Prabath Jayasuriya, since the bowler has been on fire in his last three outings as a bowler. Jayasuriya equalled the record of taking three fifers in his first three innings as a bowler, a special feat achieved by only three people in the history of Test cricket.

“We knew once we tackled (Prabath) Jayasuriya well, we could handle other spinners. I had a few options against him and it worked. It was important for us to have shorter goals and we have done everything right.”

The highest successful run chase in Galle is 268 and Pakistan went about achieving the unlikely showing determination and skill on a pitch that slowed down and lacked bounce. The team was aided by Sri Lanka’s field placements on the day, where they spread it out for the opposition, very early in the day.

The visitors made it to 222/3 after playing 85 overs and have just 120 runs to make in the final day. At the end of play, Abdullah Shafique and Mohammad Rizwan were in the crease.

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