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1st Test, Day 3: Saud Shakeel’s unbeaten 208 put Pakistan in commanding position against Sri Lanka

Saud Shakeel’s unbeaten double century (208) put Pakistan in a commanding position in the first Test against Sri Lanka at the end of Day 3 at Galle International Stadium, here on Tuesday.

Shakeel completed a double hundred while batting alongside No.11 Abrar Ahmed and remained unbeaten on 208 when the last wicket fell. Pakistan took a decisive 149-run lead that could prove to be crucial as the Test goes on.

In reply, Sri Lanka were 14-0 in their second innings at stumps on Day 3, trailing by 135 runs with Nishan Madushka (8 not out) and Dimuth Karunaratne (6 not out) unbeaten at the crease.

Earlier, Pakistan middle-order batter Shakeel resumed on 69 not out and continued the visitors’ recovery from 101/5. The pair were separated with the score on 278 when Agha Salman fell for 83, but Shakeel carried on for Pakistan.

His double century is the 45th by a Pakistan batter in Test cricket and just the second in the last seven years. Abid Ali had made 215 not out against Zimbabwe in Harare in 2021.

Shakeel is also only the second Pakistan batter to score a double-century in his first Test match away from home.

The left-hander has had a terrific start to his Test career with his lowest score in 11 innings being 22. He had made 94 in just his second Test match against England in Multan and went on to make his maiden hundred earlier in the year against New Zealand.

Shakeel’s batting average after Pakistan’s first innings in Galle is a stunning 98.5, the highest for anyone to bat more than 10 times in Tests after Sir Donald Bradman.

He has already eclipsed the exceptional start his teammate Abdullah Shafique had in Test cricket. In his first 11 Test innings, Shakeel has piled up 788 runs, the most by any Pakistan batter, going past Shafique and Javed Miandad, who had made 720 and 654 runs respectively. Overall, only seven batters have made more runs in their first 11 Test innings.

Shakeel’s double ton has put Pakistan in a good position to end their winless streak that has lasted six Tests now. Their last win in Test cricket came in 2022 at this very venue against Sri Lanka.

Brief Scores: Pakistan 461(Saud Shakeel 208 not out, Agha Salman 83, Ramesh Mendis 5-136) lead Sri Lanka 312 all out (Dhananjaya de Silva 122, Abrar Ahmed 3-68)and 14-0(Nishan Madushka 8 not out, Dimuth Karunaratne 6 not out)by 135 runs

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