Cricket: Sanga holds up Pakistan yet again

Hosts still lead by 76 runs with two days to go in second Test.


Afp October 28, 2011

DUBAI: Sri Lanka put on an improved batting display in their second innings as they began to eat into a big Pakistan lead in the second Test at Dubai Stadium.


Sri Lanka, who conceded a big 164-run lead in the first-innings, moved to 88 for one at stumps on the third day on a pitch that is taking spin and keeping low, which sets up an intriguing last two days. Opener Tharanga Paranavitana (42) and former captain Kumar Sangakkara (29) were unbeaten, having put on 66 valuable runs for the unbroken second wicket stand after they lost opener Lahiru Thirimanne (eight) early.

They still need 76 runs to avoid an innings defeat.

Repeat of Abu Dubai needed

Sri Lanka will look for a repeat of their second-innings performance in the drawn first Test in Abu Dhabi, where Sangakkara scored an epic match-saving double hundred.

So cautious were the batsmen against Pakistan’s pace-cum-spin attack that Paranavitana hit only two boundaries and Sangakkara was yet to hit any during a near two hour stay at the crease. Pakistan’s bowlers unleashed tight line and length and appealed vociferously as the ball spun, but failed to remove the second wicket pair.

Shafiq gets among the runs

Earlier, Pakistan were dismissed for 403 an hour after lunch, with Asad Shafiq scoring 59 and wicket-keeper Adnan Akmal chipping in with a useful 41.

Dhammika Prasad and Tillakaratne Dilshan chipped in with three wickets apiece while Chanaka Welegedara and spinner Rangana Herath took two each. Shafiq said Pakistan needed to restrict the Sri Lankan target to 100 runs in order to take a lead in the series.

“I hope they don’t give us a chance to bat a second time,” said Shafiq. “But since the ball is turning and keeping low I think we must restrict them to a lead of 100 or less to enforce a win.”

Welegedara, however, hoped Sri Lanka takes a 200-plus lead.

“We need to bat well and if we get a 225 to 250 lead we have a good chance,” he said.

It was Welegedara who gave Sri Lanka the much-needed early breakthrough by dismissing Misbahul Haq (41) in the second over of the day and nightwatchman Saeed Ajmal (20) after Pakistan resumed at 281 for four.

Pakistan had looked to their captain Misbah to steer them to a big lead, but the experienced batsman fell caught behind, chasing a wide delivery from Welegedara after hitting two boundaries and a six.

Ajmal frustrated Sri Lankan bowlers, adding an invaluable 41 for the sixth wicket before Welegedara produced a sharp outgoing delivery and the ensuing edge was well taken by Angelo Mathews in the slip. Shafiq, initially cautious, then opened up by hoisting left-arm spinner Rangana Herath over long-on for a six, and, at the other end, Akmal drove Welegedara twice to cover boundaries.

In the same Welegedara over, Shafiq hit another boundary to take Pakistan’s lead past the hundred mark before a couple off Herath saw him reach his third Test half-century. He fell soon after lunch when he cut casually off Prasad straight into the hands of gully where Mahela Jayawardene held an easy catch. Shafiq had hit four boundaries and a six.

Herath then dismissed Abdul Rehman (nought) and Umar Gul (two) in the same over before Dilshan had Akmal caught behind to finish the innings.

The third and final Test will be played in Sharjah from November 3.

Asad Shafiq

“I hope they do not give us the chance to bat for a
second time. Having said that,  since the ball is turning and keeping low I think we must restrict them to a lead of around 100 or less to enforce the win.”

C Welegedara

“We need to bat extremely well in the second-innings.
If we manage to get a 225 to 250 run lead over Pakistan this time round, we will have really given ourselves a good chance of winning this Test.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2011.

COMMENTS (1)

IGP | 10 years ago | Reply

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