Rahmat Shah scored a sensational knock to save Afghanistan on Day 1 of the only Test match against Sri Lanka on Friday. The experienced batter scored 91 runs to help his team on track for a challenging total of 198 at Colombo’s Sinhalese Sports Club Ground.
Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Sadeera Samarawickrama displayed a brilliant presence of mind to deny Rahmat his second Test hundred. Sadeera read Prabath Jayasuriya’s delivery well and positioned himself well off the leg side to take a brilliant low catch at leg slip. Rahmat was trying to find a four with a sweep shot and almost succeeded but Sadeera’s cleverness stunned Afghan batter and everyone.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s new captain Dhanajaya de Silva won the toss and elected to bowl first in the first match of the multi-format series. Vishwa Fernando dismissed Ibrahim Zadran on the second delivery of the game and then Sri Lankan bowlers never gave away the momentum. Apart from Rahmat’s brilliant known, only Noor Ali Zadran managed to reach the 30-run mark on Day 1.
Vishwa Fernando also picked crucial wickets of Ali Zadran and captain Hashmatullah Shahidi as Afghanistan batters struggled for any meaningful partnerships. Rahmat somehow managed to balance the game in the second session by adding 45 runs for the fifth wicket with wicketkeeper batter Ikram Alikhil.
But Jayasuriya and Samarawickrama ended Rahmat’s impressive innings and took two more wickets to bundle out the visitors on 198 in 62.4 overs. Vishwa bagged the highest four wickets for 51 while Asitha Fernando and Jayasuriya picked three each.
After impressive bowling, Sri Lanka also dominated with a bat by adding 80 runs for the opening wicket without losing any wickets on Day 1. The former captain Dimuth Karunaratne smashed 42* off just 37 balls and Nishan Madushka added 36 unbeaten to help Sri Lanka score 80/0 in 14 overs.