Shaheen gets 3 as Sri Lanka wobble in Galle Test


Galle: Pakistan fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi reached 100 wickets on his Test return and struck three times to rattle Sri Lanka in a rain-hit morning session of the opening match on Sunday.

Sri Lanka looked in trouble at 65-4 at lunch after electing to bat first at the start of the two-match series at the oceanfront Galle stadium.

Senior batsman Angelo Mathews, on 12, and Dhananjaya de Silva, on seven, were batting at the break.

Lunch was put back by an hour after officials adjusted the timings for the three sessions following a nearly 90-minute rain interruption.

Shaheen, a left-arm quick playing his 26th Test, moved from 99 to a century of wickets on his return from injury when he sent back Nishan Madushka caught behind for four in his second over.

The 23-year-old Pakistani star had injured his knee at the same venue a year ago.

Rain soon arrived in Galle to interrupt play but Shaheen took another wicket when action resumed as he got Kusal Mendis out for 12.

Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne hit back with a few boundaries before Shaheen got him out for 29, caught behind attempting a glance down the leg side.

Fast bowler Naseem Shah soon joined forces to get Dinesh Chandimal out for one with a quick delivery as skipper Babar Azam pulled off a tough catch at third slip.

‘One of many milestones’
Former men’s captain Wasim Akram congratulated Afridi on achieving his 100th Test wicket and termed it “one of the many milestones to come”.

In a video released by the Pakistan Cricket Board earlier today, Afridi had recalled the match when he took his 99th wicket and hoped to clinch his 100th soon, lamenting that he got injured before he could do so.

“So, I have waited for too long,” he said, adding that it was “too difficult to be away from cricket”.