Galle: Opening batsman Oshada Fernando’s brisk half-century helped Sri Lanka reach 96-2 at lunch on day one of the second Test against Pakistan at the Galle International Stadium today.
After the hosts won the toss and batted, Fernando batted superbly with excellent use of feet and reached his seventh Test half-century with a lofted six off Mohammad Nawaz. His 50 came off 69 deliveries with four fours and three sixes, all lofted over the long-on boundary.
Fernando was dismissed the very next ball as he was caught behind to give Nawaz (1-23) his first wicket.
Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne was unbeaten on 28 at the break. Kusal Mendis was run out in the last ball before lunch backing up too far from the non-strkers end. He made three.
The pitch was already offering turn in the first session of the match and with Fernando being proactive attacking the spinners Sri Lanka were able to score at more than four runs an over.
Pakistan made a big decision ahead of the game dropping their former captain Azhar Ali, a veteran of 95 Test matches. The tourists were also forced to leave out Shaheen Afridi, who had hurt his ankle while diving on the field during the first Test.
Sri Lanka also made two changes bringing in Dunith Wellalage and Asitha Fernando in place of Maheesh Theekshana and Kasun Rajitha. Wellalage is making his Test debut.
100th Test match
Angelo Mathews is featuring in his 100th Test match and Sri Lanka Cricket felicitated their former captain before start of play.
Pakistan lead the two-match series 1-0 having chased down a record 342 run target in the last session of the final day of the first Test here in Galle earlier in the week.
The second Test was scheduled for Colombo but was shifted to the southern coastal town due to political unrest in the capital.