Alam cracks century on debut
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Ground:P Sara Oval, Colombo
Scorecard:Sri Lanka v Pakistan
Player:Umar Gul, Fawad Alam, Saeed Ajmal
Event:Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2009

DateLine: 13th July 2009


Makeshift opener Fawad Alam scored a well-paced century on debut, becoming the 11th Pakistani batsman to achieve that distinction.


In the morning session Pakistan hit back with an excellent bit of fielding, and incisive spells of reverse-swing and spin bowling, to restrict Sri Lanka from running away with the match.


Younis Khan opened the bowling with his gentle seamers and Samaraweera played a superb straight drive to signal his intentions. At the other end he had Ajmal operating. After his one experimental over he gave the ball back to Gul who immediately generated pace and found some swing.


Pakistan needed something inspirational to happen to get their sagging spirits going as the Lankan batsmen looked fairly comfortable in the middle. It took an inspired piece of fielding from Mohammad Aamer to lift their spirits and provide a vital breakthrough.


Samaraweera attempted a quick single to mid-off, but Aamer found the stumps with a direct hit with Samaraweera short of the crease. Gul gave Pakistan a huge boost with a sharp inswinger that squeezed through Sangakkara's defenses to clean him up.


Tillakaratne Dilshan counter-attacked but he fell to an unfortunate decision, given out caught behind off Ajmal when the bat had only hit the ground. Gul then got rid of Kulasekara and Herath off successive balls. Sri Lanka's last two wickets added only 14 runs as Pakistan limited their first-innings deficit to 150.


Thilan Thushara fell soon after the break, trapped in front by Abdur Rauf. Angelo Mathew helped the lead touch but fell when he got a leading edge to a doosra, giving Ajmal his fourth wicket.


The opening pair of Manzoor and Fawad Alam then batted well showing sense and resolve. With no swing available for the seamers both the openers looked fairly comfortable as they negotiated the new ball pairing of Thushara and Kulasekara.


Sangakkara realising the impotency of his seamers brought in Mendis but the Pakistani openers saw off him as Pakistan was placed safely at 61 for no loss at tea. The pair then continued the good work on a pitch that became flatter and placid as the day went on.


Though the boundaries were few, both the batsmen concentrated on taking the singles and the doubles to keep the scoreboard moving. Manzoor fell just when he had sized up the bowlers, when he bottom edged Herath through to Dilshan. Alam however kept his cool as he in the company of his skipper Younis Khan then added unbeaten 93 for the second wicket to help Pakistan cross the Sri Lankan score.


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