Silva, Sangakkara carry Sri Lanka to 99-1
GALE, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s Kaushal Silva and Kumar Sangakkara survived Pakistan’s spin test and carried the home team to 99-1 in response to the visitors’ healthy 451 on the second day of the first test on Thursday.
Silva was batting on 38 while Sangakkara, who could have been out lbw for 13 had Saeed Ajmal went for the review, was on a dodged 36.
The home team was still not out of trouble as it trails by 352 runs with Ajmal getting some turn off the wicket.
Earlier, Pakistan’s tailenders scored heavily with Sarfraz Ahmed (55) and No. 8 Abdul Rehman (50) both smashing half centuries after elegant Younis Khan made a splendid 177 in just over eight hours against some ineffective bowling.
“I try to play such an innings whenever the team needs me so that it is remembered for a long time,” said Khan, who came in at 19-2 on the first day.
Sri Lanka started off shakily against some lively new ball bowling of left arm fast bowler Junaid Khan, who had Upul Tharanga leg before wicket off a delivery which nipped back into the left-hander.
Sangakkara also started off nervously and took 14 balls to get off the mark as Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq deployed his ace spinner Ajmal from one end.
Silva also looked jittery but survived against Ajmal’s variations as the offspinner continuously threatened him with his ‘doosra’ — a delivery that spins away from the right-handed batsman.
Resuming at the overnight 261-4, Pakistan lost only Asad Shafiq in the morning session when Rangana Herath (3-116) had him leg before wicket for 75.
Khan’s marathon knock, which featured 15 fours and a six, ended soon after the break when he offered a tame catch at short midwicket as offspinner Dilruwan Perera (5-137) claimed the last four wickets to end Sri Lanka’s frustration in the last over before tea.
Khan and Shafiq watchfully played out the first hour and added 32 more runs, stretching their partnership to 137, before Herath got the breakthrough with an arm ball in his third over of the day after the batsman had added 20 to his overnight 55.
Shafiq, whose No. 6 spot in the side was under scrutiny, hit eight fours and two sixes in his 147-ball knock that could cement his place.
Khan used his feet well against Herath and Perera and didn’t hesitate to sweep the spinners with utmost control as the pitch flattened out.
“It’s only been two days, so as far as I see it, it’s still good for the batsmen,” Herath said.
“There have been 550 runs scored so far ... there’s a good chance the spinners will come into the game and the pitch will start to turn and bite.”
Khan, 133 overnight, raised his 150 with a superb four through cover off fast bowler Shaminda Eranga, who later dropped a two-handed return catch on his follow-through which could have dismissed Khan on 156.
Ahmed and Khan upped the scoring rate with some neat drives and added a rapid 66 runs before Khan walked down the crease but ended up chipping the ball to Kithuruwan Vithanage, who dived forward and took a low catch.
But Pakistan’s tailenders continued to pile on runs and Ahmed completed his half century when he drove Perera to the mid-on fence for his sixth boundary before he gave a straightforward catch to captain Angelo Mathews at mid-on.
Rehman ensured Pakistan went past the 450-run mark with some attractive strokes that included three successive boundaries in Eranga’s one over before holing out in deep to Sangakkara at long on.