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Winners and Losers from 1st Test Between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi

Alex TelferFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2014

Winners and Losers from 1st Test Between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi

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    Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    After his performance in the first Test against Pakistan, Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Matthews will be thrilled with his personal contribution, which helped his side escape from danger to briefly flirt with victory before eventually settling for a draw.

    However, several dismal individual performances in a game which could have gone either way means certain players from both sides will be nervous about their selection for the second instalment of this three-match series.

    Let's take a look at the winners and losers from this enthralling five-day contest.

Winner: Angelo Matthews

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    Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

    Runs (in the game): 248

    Wickets: 1

    The Sri Lankan captaincy has been a difficult chalice for Angelo Matthews to bear, especially with former skippers such as Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara remaining as key players for the team.

    However, the 26-year-old came of age in this match, registering a career-best Test score of 157 not out which simultaneously erased prospects of defeat and turned the pressure on to Pakistan's second innings.

    Captain Fantastic's belligerent 91 in the first innings was a more watchful but arguably more important contribution in that it saved his side from a complete catastropy.

     

Winner: Junaid Khan

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    Francois Nel/Getty Images

    Wickets: 8

    Junaid Khan's progression as a Test-level bowler continued apace, with a probing spell of accurate pace bowling reaping five wickets to devastate Sri Lanka in their first innings.

    And despite the pitch flattening out after the opening day's play, Khan was still the pick of the Pakistan's attack, collecting another three scalps in the visitor's second effort.

    Having claimed 50 wickets at 27.54 from just 14 Tests, the 24-year-old has earned the right to take the new ball for the foreseeable future.

     

Winner: Younis Khan

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    Gallo Images/Getty Images

    Runs: 149

    Often overlooked, when the upper echelon's of the world's best batsmen are discussed, Younis Khan averages 51.87 over 87 matches of Test cricket.

    In this game, the veteran's fluid first innings century, the 23rd of his career, helped Pakistan dominate the early passages of play.

    The knock will also have improved Khan's confidence for the remaining matches after he registered two ducks in his last three first-class knocks.

     

Loser: Mahela Jayawardene

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    Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

    Runs: 5

    A rare double failure for middle-order kingpin, Mahela Jayawardene didn't help Sri Lanka's cause.

    Perhaps not playing a first-class match since 22nd October was a factor, but the former skipper, who has over 10,000 Test runs, will know he missed out.

    After falling for five in the first innings, Jayawardene collected a rare golden duck in the second, falling both times to Pakistani debutante Bilawal Bhatti.

Loser: Adnan Akmal

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    Gareth Copley/Getty Images

    Runs: 6

    Dismissals: 6

    A fractured finger, sustained by Adnan Akmal when catching Kaushal Silva, has ruled the Pakistani glovesman out for the rest of the series.

    The injury will come as a huge disappointment to the wicketkeeper who took five dismissals in Sri Lanka's first innings and was hoping to cement his place in the side over the course of this series.

    Now, with Akmal sidelined, the talented, but-under-achieving Sarfraz Ahmed will get another chance behind the stumps.

Loser: Sachithra Senanayake

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    Gallo Images/Getty Images

    Wickets: 0

    After making a name for himself, primarily in Twenty20 cricket, Sachithra Senanayake's fist foray into the longest form of the international game was far from a success.

    The Kolkata Knight Rider ace bowled 23 overs without making a breakthrough and leaked runs at an alarming economy rate of 4.17.

    Of course, the benign Abu Dhabi surface didn't help and the talented 28-year-old spinner will hope for another chance in Dubai.

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