Nuwan Kulasekara and Suraj Randiv combined to vanquish Pakistan as Sri Lanka won the first Test by a massive 209 runs, their biggest win over their Asian rivals.
The tourists, set a near impossible victory target of 510, were bowled out for 300 just before stumps on the fourth day despite defiant batting from Younus Khan and Asad Shafiq. The pair kept the Sri Lankan attack at bay for three hours to add 151 for the fifth wicket, Younus making 87 and Shafiq 80, before both fell either side of the tea interval.
Randiv and Kulasekara grabbed three wickets each to ensure Sri Lanka ended the match with a day to spare after Pakistan appeared to be taking the fight into the final day. Randiv finished with seven wickets in the game, but it was teammate Kumar Sangakkara who was named man of the match for his unbeaten 199 in Sri Lanka’s first-innings.
“It was a case of adapting quickly after the limited-overs series,” said Sangakkara. “The conditions were easier than they usually are. Pakistan bowled very well though.”
Jayawardene a pleased man
Sri Lanka captain Mahele Jayawardene, who has led a transformation of sorts after drawing a Test series with England, was a pleased man.
“It’s nice to continue the winning momentum,” said Jayawardene before defending his decision not to enforce the follow-on despite a lead of 372 runs after Sri Lanka shot out Pakistan for a modest 100 in the first-innings.
“The idea was to bat Pakistan out of the match and give my bowlers some rest. The weather was a bit of a concern but then Kulasekara was outstanding with the new ball.”
Younus, 34, the most experienced batsman in the side with 77 Tests, held the innings together during his 26th half-century in the five-day format. Shafiq, a 26-year-old playing his 14th Test, matched his senior partner with a fluent knock that contained 13 hits to the fence.
But just when the duo appeared to have survived the entire post-lunch session, Shafiq was dismissed edging left-arm spinner Rangana Herath. Younus, who went to tea on 81, fell in the first over with the second new ball when he was dismissed by Kulasekara.
Hafeez eyes comeback after Misbah’s return
Mohammad Hafeez, who led Pakistan after regular captain Misbahul Haq was banned from the Test for a slow over-rate in the final ODI, said he was proud of the entire team.
“Ours is a young side and this match was a learning experience for everyone,” said Hafeez. “There was very good spirit in the side and it was really satisfying to see Younus and Asad fight till the end. But we need to work hard at the nets. It will be a big boost when Misbah returns for the next Test.” a
“There was very good spirit in the side and it was really
satisfying to see Younus and Asad fight till the end. It will be a big boost when Misbah returns for the next Test.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2012.
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