DUBAI: Pakistan bowled and fielded well to bowl Sri Lanka out for another low score of 239 in the first-innings to finish the opening day of the second Test on top.
Paceman Umar Gul (three for 78) did the early damage in company with Junaid Khan (two for 57) before spinners Saeed Ajmal (three for 45) and Abdul Rehman (two for 40) completed the job on a bouncy Dubai Stadium pitch.
Pakistan, who spurned a good chance to go 1-0 up in the three-match series with sloppy fielding in the first Test at Abu Dhabi last week, moved to 42 for no loss at close. Openers Mohammad Hafeez (18) and Taufeeq Umar (20) were at the crease on a day when Pakistani bowlers dominated yet again.
Sri Lanka, who chose to bat, slumped to 30 for three and then 154 for eight despite a valiant 78 from Kumar Sangakkara before a ninth-wicket stand of 75 between Chanaka Welegedara (48) and Rangana Herath (29) lifted them past the 200-mark. Sangakkara, who celebrates his 34th birthday today, hit eleven boundaries and added an invaluable 54 runs for the sixth wicket with debutant Kaushal Silva (20).
Welegedara, whose previous best score of 11 came at Abu Dhabi, hit two sixes and four boundaries during his 127-ball surprising knock. But Sri Lanka’s batting, managing just 197 in the first-innings in the first Test, failed yet again against a hostile pace-cum spin attack by Pakistan.
When Sangakkara looked set for another century he lost his concentration as he jumped down the crease to hoist Rehman straight into the hands of Asad Shafiq. Sangakkara had defied the Pakistan bowlers during the first session in which Sri Lanka lost five wickets, three in Gul’s incisive first spell.
Gul happy with performance
The fast-bowler, who took six wickets in the first Test, said the pitch had moisture which helped.
“Our coach told us that there’s moisture on the pitch so we bowled in the right areas and got the reward,” said Gul. “We are happy to get them out cheaply.”
Sangakkara, however, was a disappointed man.
“Pakistan made good use of the new ball and it was a bit disappointing to lose early wickets but a good fightback took us to 239 and now we must keep Pakistan to a low total,” said Sangakkara.
Junaid Khan ably complemented Gul by dismissing Tillakaratne Dilshan (seven) and Angelo Mathews (19) to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 78 for five at lunch. Pakistan made one change from the first Test, replacing Aizaz Cheema with Rehman.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2011.
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