As the second Test of the two-match Sri Lanka vs Pakistan Test series was progressing at Columbo, Pakistan were in a dominant position throughout the game and won the game comfortably by a commendable margin of an inning and 222 runs. Naseem Shah played a crucial role in the victory, as he bowled a fiery spell on the fourth day of the match and confounded the Sri Lankan batsmen.
Naseem Shah finished with figures of 3/44 in the second innings, which consisted of the wickets of the last three Lankan batters, Prabath Jayasuriya, Asitha Fernando, and Dilshan Madushanka, all of whom failed to trouble the scorers and were clean bowled. But the best part of his spell wasn't these wickets, it was the 62nd over of the innings which he bowled to Kusal Mendis.
The over was an exhilarating display of fast bowling as the Pakistani pacer made the 28-year-old Mendis dance to his tunes. The first ball of the over was a regular delivery outside off, which Mendis left alone. The second ball was a quick delivery angling into the leg stump, which hit the right-hander on his knees. The Pakistanis appealed, but the umpires did not look impressed and turned it down. The bowling team went on to review it, but ball tracking clearly showed that it was missing the leg stump.
The third ball too was a similar delivery, slightly fuller than the previous one, and hit the batter below the knee. However, this time the umpire declared it out as soon as the fielders appealed. Kusal Mendis decided to go upstairs and the decision was overturned for the second time in two deliveries as it was closely missing the stumps.
The fourth delivery produced an appeal too, as the ball hit the Lankan on the shin, in the line of the middle stump. The officials gave it out, and Mendis decided to review it again. The replay showed that it was missing once again. This decision disappointed Naseem, who was bowling with all his heart as the decision was overturned against him for the third time in three balls. The amount of swing the 20-year-old was producing on the Galle wicket was unbelievable as the batsmen were clearly struggling against him.
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The youngster was wicketless for a large part of the innings, as left-armer Noman Ali picked all of the first seven Sri Lankan wickets. But the quick was rewarded soon after, as he got the scalps of all the three tailenders on ducks. This also unlocked a special milestone for the quick, as he completed fifty wickets in Test matches for Pakistan.
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Abdullah Shafique was adjudged the player of the match for his stunning double-century knock of 201(326). But the Pakistani bowling attack consisting of Naseem Shah, Noman Ali, and Abrar Ahmed played a crucial role in winning the match.