Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Abu Dhabi, 4th day January 3, 2014

Mathews' high, and Ajmal's low

Stats highlights from the fourth day's play in Abu Dhabi, when Sri Lanka staged a magnificent fightback

  • Sri Lanka's total of 420 for 5 is their eighth-highest score in the second innings of a Test, but only twice have they gone past 450. Their highest second-innings score is 537 for 9 in a drawn game against England at Lord's in 2006. On that occasion, they were forced to follow on after trailing by 359 in the first innings, and ended up batting for 199 overs in the second innings to save the Test. Five of their eight top second-innings totals have been against Pakistan. In terms of overs faced, this is already Sri Lanka's sixth-highest in the second innings.

  • Angelo Mathews' 116 not out is his highest Test score, and his second century. His previous hundred was an unbeaten 105 against Australia in Colombo in 2011. He also scored 91 in the first innings of this Test, which gives him a match total - so far - of 207, the sixth-highest for a Sri Lankan captain. In nine previous Test innings before this match, Mathews' highest score had been 38 not out. This is also Mathews' fifth 50-plus score in 18 Test innings against Pakistan - his average against them is 53.08.

  • Sri Lanka's Nos. 5, 6 and 7 have contributed 253 runs so far, which is their second-highest aggregate from those positions against Pakistan. Sri Lanka's highest contribution from those positions is 374, in the ill-fated Lahore Test of 2009 which was called off because of the terrorist attack against the Sri Lankan team.

  • The 138-run stand between Dinesh Chandimal and Mathews is Sri Lanka's third-best for the fifth wicket against Pakistan.

  • If Prasanna Jayawardene gets two more runs, he'll become the fifth Sri Lankan to score at least 50 in this Test innings, which will be a new record for Sri Lanka against Pakistan. There have been seven instances of four 50-plus scores from Sri Lanka's batsmen against Pakistan in a single innings. The most fifties scored by Sri Lanka's batsmen in a single Test innings is seven, against England at Lord's in 2006.

  • Saeed Ajmal has already bowled 42 overs in the second innings without taking a wicket, which is a new low for him in Tests. Ajmal has never waited so long for his maiden wicket in a Test innings: his previous-longest wait was 41.1 overs, in the first innings against England at Lord's in 2010. On that occasion, he took a wicket off his 248th delivery, and ended with figures of 2 for 126 from 44 overs.

  • This is only the third time Ajmal has bowled more than 40 overs in the opposition's second innings, and all three of these instances have been against Sri Lanka. On the two previous occasions, he had figures of 1 for 95 from 43 overs (in Colombo in 2009), and 1 for 167 from 55 overs (in Abu Dhabi in 2011). Both those Tests ended in draws.

  • Pakistan have successfully chased a target of more than 240 in the fourth innings only three times - once each against Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh. Their highest in the fourth innings of any Test is 343 for 3 in a drawn game against South Africa in Dubai in 2010.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • I on January 4, 2014, 12:17 GMT

    Why is Ajmal's spell being described as a 'new low'? He bowled plenty of maidens and kept a tight economy, all while bowling to a makeshift wicketkeeper. This criticism is complete nonsense, he played a perfectly fine game for a spinner. It's not like Herath set the game on fire, with his 3 tail-end wickets gifted to him

  • Muhammad Javed on January 4, 2014, 5:50 GMT

    I think in this test sri lanka team is going to draw the match.

  • ESPN on January 4, 2014, 5:08 GMT

    Can't someone see the dead track on which these two teams are playing which has nothing in it for spinners , and also these two teams usually play on dead surfaces which has nothing for bowlers thats why bowlers averages goes bad and batsmen get better so no point in blaming ajmal for the pitch which is completely dead

  • MOHAMMED on January 4, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    This shows that: 1) SL can play Ajmal a lot better. So he is struggling to take wickets against SL. 2) SL plays Pakistan a lot better than any other team. 3) SL batsman have good records against Pakistan than any other team. 4) Any SL batsman can get back to form against Pakistan. 5) Any mediocre SL bowler can take wickets against Pakistan but established Pak bowlers like Ajmal struggles to take wickets against SL. 6) In last 5years SL leads Pak by 3-1 margin. IT CLEARLY STATES THAT SL IS FAR SUPERIOR THAN PAK IN RECENT TIMES.

  • Shiv on January 4, 2014, 4:39 GMT

    The guy is what 40 now? Give him a break, he is bound to get tired and his fingers won't be able to take that much stress.

  • Dummy4 on January 4, 2014, 4:15 GMT

    I am sure pakistan will come today with a brilliant plan and show what they are capable for...

  • suru on January 4, 2014, 1:57 GMT

    ajmal is tiger in spinning tracks but cat in fast tracks. He failed against SA series and now against SL IN UAE spin paradise. Medicore spinner.

  • Chatty on January 3, 2014, 22:22 GMT

    It will be silly to draw any conclusions about Ajmal based on this performance. I am glad Angie and Chandimal battled hard and won against Ajmal. But he is a great bowler and these 42 overs without a wicket means very little.

  • $$ milind on January 3, 2014, 17:27 GMT

    Ajmal is world-class and at some point of time will make a good come-back. But we shouldn't take away anything from the Sri Lankan batters who have played magnificently. This game is looking towards a draw but can there be a twist in the tale ?

  • Joshua on January 3, 2014, 16:53 GMT

    While the pitch has flattened out completely, credit has to be given to the Sri Lankan batsmen. Only individual flashes of brilliance with the ball with get wickets unless the batsmen throw their wickets away. As it relates to Ajmal, like Steyn, I believe he'll make a comeback and if anyone wasn't keeping up with the match, he beat the bat several times without reward (a combination of no luck and somewhat restrained batting).

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