Sri Lanka lose two after strong start in Mathews’ 100th Test

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GALLE: Opener Oshada Fernando gave Sri Lanka a solid start before he departed on 50 against Pakistan on Sunday, in a landmark 100th Test for former captain Angelo Mathews.

The hosts lost another wicket in Galle at the stroke of lunch with Kusal Mendis run out on three off a direct throw from Agha Salman, while the batsman was backing up at the non-strikers’ end.

The hosts were 96 for two by the break, with skipper Dimuth Karunaratne batting on 28.

Oshada and the left-handed Karunaratne began cautiously against Pakistan fast bowlers Hasan Ali and Naseem Shah, but soon gained confidence to put on 92 runs together.

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Oshada hit left-arm spinner Nauman Ali – who replaced injured quick Shaheen Shah Afridi – for a six down the ground and then a lovely cover drive for four off Hasan.

He reached his seventh Test fifty with a six off left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz, but the bowler got his revenge on the next ball with the batsman caught behind.

Karunaratne kept rotating the strike but needed help from the physio twice, getting his ankle strapped, and then in the second break receiving a back massage and a pill before batting.

Mathews, 35, was feted by Sri Lanka Cricket and accompanied by his family at the start of the Test as the hosts look to bounce back from their opening loss in the two-match series.

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