Kaushal Silva and Kumar Sangakkara scored half-centuries to help hosts Sri Lanka build up a steady first-inning score of 178-3 on day two of the first Test against Pakistan in Galle.
Silva was unbeaten on a patient 197-ball 80 while skipper Angelo Mathews was not out on 10 at the end of day two, after the first day had been washed out.
Rain and the wet outfield also delayed the start of the second day, in which only 72 overs were to be bowled — in the end only 64 were possible before bad light stopped play.
Pakistan skipper Misbahul Haq won the toss and decided to bowl first, citing the heavy rain as the reason.
The decision was almost vilified in the second over when Dimuth Karunaratne was caught at slip by Muhammad Hafeez in the second over while trying to drive Wahab Riaz. However, Wahab had overstepped to give the batsmen an unlikely second chance.
The ball continued to keep low in the first hour and the soft nature of the pitch meant the fast-bowlers struggled to get zip off the surface.
It took around 10 overs for the pitch to dry up a bit, after which the ball started going through to the wicketkeeper at good pace and bounce. The change in the nature of the pitch did the trick as Wahab finally had a legitimate wicket when he dismissed Karunaratne, who made 21 off 42, with an easy catch to Sarfraz Ahmed.
Wahab then had a go at Sangakkara, so often Pakistan’s bane, and he did ruffle up the world-class player with some hostile short-pitch stuff. However, Sangakkara survived the burst and built a solid 112-run stand with Silva to keep the Pakistan bowlers at bay — who were also let down by poor fielding as several chances were shelled.
Sangakkara was finally dismissed on a personal score of 50 off 106 deliveries when he edged a swift Wahab delivery to the slip cordon, where the dependant Younus Khan held on to a simple chance to make it 142-2.
It was Sangakkara’s 12th half-century against Pakistan, against whom he also has 10 centuries.
The hosts lost another wicket quickly after to go to 154-3 when Lahiru Thirimanne was dismissed by Hafeez on eight.
However, that was the last dismissal before stumps were called soon after.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2015.
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