Shaheen Afridi (R) celebrates after taking the wicket of Dimuth Karunaratne (L) during the first day of the first Test match in Galle on Sunday. AFP
Gulf Today Report
Pakistan's pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi claimed his 100th Test wicket on his return from injury in the first match against Sri Lanka in Galle on Sunday.
Shaheen has now become the 19th bowler and 11th pacer from Pakistan to take 100 wickets in Test cricket.
Shaheen, a left-arm quick, achieved the feat in his second over of the first Test match against Sri Lanka, dismissing opener Nishan Madushka.
The pace spearhead had moved to 99 wickets in 25 Tests at the same venue last year when a knee injury put him out of action.
Shaheen, 23, has taken 134 wickets in white-ball matches since his international debut in 2018 and emerged as a star bowler for the Babar Azam-led team.
His impressive record also includes four five-wicket hauls and one 10-for in Test cricket.
Comparatively, legendary bowlers like Imran Khan and Wasim Akram took 26 and 30 Test matches respectively to reach the same landmark. This illustrates the remarkable talent and potential that Shaheen possesses.
Meanwhile, Yasir Shah is the fastest Pakistani to reach 100 Test wickets in just 17 Tests.
Ahead of the first Test against Sri Lanka, Shaheen shared his excitement regarding achieving the milestone.
“There is a lot of excitement [for that 100th wicket],” Shaheen said.
Recalling the first Test in Galle 12 months prior, Shaheen mentioned his plan to utilise the new ball to reach this milestone. However, an injury forced him to wait longer.
“I was only one wicket away and the new ball was about to be available. I was planning to utilise the new ball to reach that milestone, but I got injured before we got the new ball. So, I have had to wait a lot. It is very tough to be away from cricket, but time has helped me learn a lot, which will help me perform well for Pakistan across formats,” he added.
Earlier, rain halted play shortly after Sri Lanka elected to bat first and reached 18-1 in the opening Test in Galle.
The two-match series marks the start of the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 participation for the two teams.
Afridi, fielding at mid-wicket, dived in an attempt to cut off a Dinesh Chandimal boundary on day three and was seen hobbling off the field. He was taken for scans and although there was no fracture, swelling and pain ruled him out.
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Jayasuriya claimed his fourth five-wicket haul in just his third Test to star in Sri Lanka's 246-run win to end the two-Test series level at 1-1 in Galle.
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