Herath spins Sri Lanka to series win
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Ground:P Sara Oval, Colombo
Scorecard:Sri Lanka v Pakistan
Player:Fawad Alam, Younis Khan, HMRKB Herath
Event:Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2009

DateLine: 14th July 2009


In another day of twists and turns, a spectacular batting collapse from the Pakistani line-up handed the Test match and crucially the series to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka on the other hand won a home series for the first time against Pakistan in six attempts. In the morning with the way Alam and Younis Khan batted it seemed that Pakistan would build up a sizeable and then put pressure on the home batsmen. But post-lunch session the Lankan bowlers winked out eight wickets for just 35 runs with Herath doing the maximum damage.


In the morning session Pakistan continued their exceptional fightback as Alam and Younis Khan dug in to almost bat Lanka out of the match with some positive cricket. The morning session saw 116 runs from 28 overs. Both batsmen were largely untroubled against both pace and spin on a pitch which had little in it for the bowlers - there was no bounce or movement on offer for the seamers, while the turn that the spinners got was far too slow and predictable for the batsmen to be concerned. Sangakkara handed the ball in the second over of the day to Paranavitana, whose offbreaks caused few worries for the batsmen. Aggressive shots from Alam and Younis forced Sangakkara to do away with that experiment. Thushara managed to ping Alam on the helmet with a sharp bouncer, but Fawad Alam got up on his feet and crashed the next ball through covers for a demoralizing boundary.


Fawad Alam got to his 150 with a sweep off Rangana Herath and the partnership grew to threatening proposition. With just seven minutes to go for the lunch, Younis Khan tried to play a cheeky looking reverse sweep and Paranavitana seeing Younis Khan getting into position pushed it down the leg stump, The ball turned out to be a full toss, which got the shoulder of the bat and lobbed to Dilshan behind the wicket to literally gift his wicket away.


When both the teams went to have their lunch with the pitch was flat, offering little assistance for pace or spin and it seemed that Pakistan would be building on the platform laid by Younis and Alam. Sangakkara took the second new ball immediately after lunch and surprisingly handed it over to Herath who struck immediately, removing Yousuf with his second ball. That triggered off a spectacular collapse as the next seven wickets fell for just seventeen runs. Nuwan Kulasekara armed with the second new ball in overcast conditions began to get some dangerous inswing as he trapped four batsmen lbw. Misbah-ul-Haq and Kamran Akmal paid the price for playing across the line while Abdur Rauf and Saeed Ajmal were pinned in their crease. Herath, meanwhile, accounted for Yousuf, Shoaib Malik and Umar Gul, with his arm ball while turn and bounce ended Fawad Alam's innings of 168.


Set a target of 171 to win the Lankan openers were off to a flier as they punished a wayward Pakistani bowling. Warnapurna was the aggressive of the two as he cut, pulled and drove with aplomb. When Gul pitched it very short he played an audacious pull shot which flew over the keeper for a six. The pair took the Lankan team to tea without much damage and after the tea, the openers continued with their attacking ways to subdue the Pakistani bowlers. Paranavitana was cleaned up by Ajmal as he tried to heave one across the line. Sangakkara and Warnapurna took the score to 100 but then extra bounce from Rauf undid him. Sangakkara and Jayawardene then took the team closer to the target ensuring that no Pakistani type collapse occurred.


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