Shaheen Afridi aims for milestone 100th Test wicket in Sri Lanka match

Fast pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi aims to reach his 100th Test wicket in the opening Test against Sri Lanka, which begins in Galle on Sunday.

The milestone holds special significance for Afridi, as he suffered an injury at the same venue when he was on 99 Test wickets.

Afridi while talking to AFP, expressed his gratitude for being back on the field stating that injuries are part of an athlete’s life. “It’s tough to be away from cricket, but time has helped me learn a lot,” he added.

Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka are currently vying to qualify for the next International Cricket Council (ICC) World Test Championship final in 2025.

In their previous series, Pakistan won in the first Test by four wickets, while Sri Lanka won the second by 246 to square the series.

During a warm-up match, Afridi showcased his skills as he bowled with incredible pace and lethal seam, resulting in three wickets for 36 runs in 12 overs. Pakistan successfully dismissed the opposition, restricting them to a total of 196.

“I am thrilled to be making my Test comeback in the same country where I suffered my injury.” Afridi stated.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is set to include uncapped left-arm pacer Dilshan Madushanka in their squad to replace the sidelined Asitha Fernando, who has contracted dengue fever.

Madushanka, who has played six ODIs and 11 T20Is, was now aiming for his Test debut following his performance in the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier final against the Netherlands, where he claimed three wickets for 18 runs and was awarded the Player of the Match title for his exceptional spell with the new ball.

The Sri Lankan squad also featured off-spinner Lakshitha Manasinghe, who will face competition from other spinners for a spot in the team.

Dhananjaya de Silva has been named as vice-captain for the Test, positioning him as the future Test captain. While Karunaratne had expressed his desire to step down ahead of the new World Test Championship (WTC) cycle but was requested by the selectors to continue.

The squads for the first Test consist of Babar Azam leading the Pakistan team, while Dimuth Karunaratne captains the Sri Lankan side.

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