Sanga, Kulasekara push Pakistan to the brink
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:Sri Lanka v Pakistan
Player:KMDN Kulasekara, KC Sangakkara, Younis Khan
Event:Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2009

DateLine: 12th July 2009


Pakistan's record of never losing a Test series in Sri Lanka was in trouble after they disappointingly got out for a mere 90 in just two sessions of the second Test. Their batting faltered again as it did in the second innings of the first Test and no improvement was visible even after so much of confidence shown by their skipper after losing the first Test.


Younis Khan as usual was at his optimistic best as he decided to bat after winning the toss. The optimism though would have gone to the dust after they were bowled out for a mere 90, their lowest total against Sri Lanka. Then Sangakkara (81 not out) lead the way for his batters as by stumps on Day One, the emerald islanders had already imposed a 74 run lead and still have seven wickets intact.


The pitch at the P Sara Oval did offer something for the bowlers in the morning but then Pakistan batsmen made it look like a bowlers paradise in the first two sessions. In fact at one time in the game the Pakistanis had lost four wickets with just 17 runs on the board. The Lankan bowlers though enjoyed and made most of the conditions. Nuwan Kulasekara, Thilan Thushara and Angelo Mathews bowled in the right places, got movement in the air and off the track, and this was too difficult to fathom for the Pakistan top order.


Kulasekara was the pick of the bowlers as he wrecked the top order and finished with deserving figures of 4 for 21.


The right-arm medium pacer who is considered one of the best in limited overs cricket made up for his lack of pace with his control and movement. He moved the ball both ways and controlled his line-length immaculately. Khurram Manzoor became his first wicket after he was bamboozled by one which moved away after a couple that came back in. The batsman gave a thin edge to Tillakaratne Dilshan, the wicketkeeper.


The middlle order then succumbed in a manner none would associate with such good players. In fact two of them failed to even start their scoring. Younis chopped one on to his stumps in trying to cut one from Thushara, while Yousuf, after getting two fours in his first three balls, drove Kulasekara. Misbah was the one who was frustrated to the core, having been kept on nought for ten deliveries, before Kulasekara scalped his wicket with a superb delivery which nipped back and took the inside edge.


Shoaib Malik (39 not out) was the highest scorer for Pakistan but ironically for him he ran out of partners. Like the first four wickets, the last five also fell in a heap within a mere addition of 23 runs to the score.


Then Sri Lanka first negotiated the rest of the afternoon session with little alarm. Though Malinda Warnapura fell early to a rough decision by Simon Taufel, Tharanga Paranavitana and Kumar Sangakkara settled in easily, as Pakistan went into the tea break having their backs to the wall.


Post tea also the story remained the same and though Pakistan did pick up a couple of wickets including the prized scalp of former skipper Mahela Jayawardene, Sangakkara remained adamant and has made sure Pakistan enter Day Two of the second Test with a lot of catching up to do.


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