Mahela Jayawardene scored four streaky runs in his last Test as Pakistan’s bowlers dismantled Sri Lanka’s first innings at the start of the second and final match in Colombo on Thursday.
The hosts, who won the toss and elected to bat on the easy-paced wicket, found runs hard to come by against the steady attack and plodded to 261-8 by stumps on the opening day at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
Upul Tharanga hit 92 and fellow opener Kaushal Silva made 41, but Sri Lanka lost seven wickets on either side of the tea interval after coasting at 144-1.
Pakistan’s two left-arm seamers Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz toiled manfully under the hot sun to share seven wickets and lead a spirited display by the tourists, who are seeking a series-levelling win.
Junaid ended the day with 4-69, including two wickets in the first over with the second new ball taken towards the end of the day’s play. Riaz had 3-66.
Junaid said it was satisfying to restrict Sri Lanka on a pitch that gave the bowlers no assistance and credited team coach and former fast-bowling great Waqar Younis for the success.
“For us seamers, to take so many wickets on a dead pitch like this is fantastic,” said the 24-year-old Junaid. “Hopefully we can wrap up the innings quickly and then the batsmen can get a big score.
“I don’t think this would have been possible without the useful tips that Waqar gave us. He is a legend and it always helps to learn from greats like him.”
Sri Lanka’s skipper Angelo Mathews made 39 when he was caught behind off Riaz for what became the last delivery of the day.
Tharanga put on 79 for the first wicket with Silva and 65 for the second with Kumar Sangakkara, but missed his century when he fell to a sharp catch by Azhar Ali at short-leg off Riaz.
“I don’t think this was a very easy pitch to bat on,” said Tharanga. “It was a bit two-paced and took more turn than what we are used to at this ground.
“Three hundred is now our main target. We still have two wickets left and must get whatever runs we can. A good first innings total is important to get a favourable result in this game.”
Sangakkara, who hit 221 in the first Test in Galle which Sri Lanka won by seven wickets, managed just 22 when he was bowled by a superb in-cutter from Riaz.
Pakistan’s fielders lined up to greet Jayawardene, a 37-year-old veteran of 149 Tests, to the crease as firecrackers went off in the stands and some 3,000 home fans gave him a standing ovation.
But the star batsman, who was dropped by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed off Junaid just before tea, fell in the first over after resumption when he was trapped leg-before by Saeed Ajmal, who bowled 29 overs to take 1-67.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2014.
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