Pakistan chase 342 to record their 2nd-highest run-chase in Tests, take 1-0 series lead against Sri Lanka

Written by Sumit Seth

Pakistan chased down the target of 342 with four wickets remaining against Sri Lanka in the Galle Test to register their second highest successful chase in Test history and take a 1-0 lead on Wednesday. The biggest target overhauled by Pakistan in Test cricket continues to remain 377 against the same opponents in Pallekele in 2015.

Pakistan began the session looking to knock off the runs quickly and Hasan Ali perished early in that attempt. Mohammad Nawaz came to support Abdullah Shafique and together they kept chipping away at the target.

Shafique offered a way back for Sri Lanka when he top-edged a slog sweep towards deep square leg and Kasun Rajitha made a complete mess of the catch. If that had been taken, Pakistan may have had a pretty nervy chase towards the end but that was not the case. In the end, they got there with 4 wickets to spare and made this record chase seem pretty easy.

Pakistan resumed at 222/3 on Day 5, needing 120 runs to grab the lead in the two-Test series. Sri Lanka appeared to have the upper hand in the contest after they posted 337 in their second innings, setting Pakistan a daunting target of 342. However, Pakistan were helped by Abdullah Shafique, who smashed 160*(408) in the second innings.

Shafique combined with Imam-ul-Haq (35) in an opening stand of 87 and later raised 101 with skipper Babar Azam (55) in a vastly improved batting display by the tourists, who were skittled out for 218 in the first innings.

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Sumit Seth