Pakistan take slender lead
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 5th July 2009
After a frenetic first day both the teams settled for the usual pace of Test cricket. But at the end of the day Pakistan would feel that they were just ahead of Sri Lanka at this stage as they have got themselves a slender lead of 50 runs. Mohammad Yousuf marked his return to the official cricket scene with a serene century and helped Pakistan recover from a precarious 80 for 4. Yousuf got solid support from Misbah-ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik, with whom he added 139 and 75 respectively and one of the satisfying factor for the Pakistani dressing room was the way these three handled Mendis, who proved very ineffective as the wicket had eased out considerably. The most threatening bowler for the Lankan team the right arm medium pacer Kulasekara as he claimed four Pakistani wickets
When Yousuf came in to bat, Pakistan had just lost night-watchman Abdur Rauf for 31. Rauf together with Younis Khan survived a tricky period as they together a 50-run partnership. When both got out quickly it seemed that the Sri Lankan bowlers have made the crucial inroads into the Pakistani batting line-up. Both Yousuf and Misbah calmly blunted the attack. Yousuf took the role of scoring runs while Misbah looked the more solid partner. Crucially though both the batsmen looked to rotate the strike as the bowlers were unable to bowl a long containing spells at them. Misbah, who had looked the most comfortable batsman on this pitch, was slow nonetheless. After a 38 minute rain break, Misbah targeted Herath to score some crucial runs to keep the scoreboard moving. Herath after taking some beating came back beautifully to get the wicket of Misbah, who edged it to the slips.
Sangakkara took the new ball as soon as it became due and two overs later Yousuf got beaten by a direct-hit from Tillakaratne Dilshan. A set Malik was beaten by one that pitched on middle and off, and moved away just enough to beat the bat and hit the off stump. Akmal played some gorgeous cover-drives in his 35-ball 31 and just when it looked like he was taking the game away from Sri Lanka, Mathews' fast and flat direct-hit found Akmal just short of the crease.