DateLine: 19th April 2006
Pakistan achieved their third successive series win as they out played Sri Lanka by a convincing margin of 8 wickets in the second and Final Test at Kandy on 5th April 2006. The victory was an other land mark in their history being the in 100th test win. Pakistan now find pace man Mohammad Asif with a match have of 11 for 71 was Chiefly clarify instrumental in bringing the visitors such a resounding victory and that too only inside three. Another notable though unfortunate event of the series was legend Sanath Jayasuriya's unceremonious retirement from test cricket having failed in both tests. Presented below is a brief review of the Test series:
1st Test – Colombo 26 - 30 March 2006
Inzamam-ul-Haq won the toss and opted to field but the first days play was washed out due to heavy rains 14 wickets fell on the second sensational days play as the ball moved heavily off the seam. The pitch had plenty of moisture due to previous day's rains. In 57.5 overs Srilanka was bowled out for 185 runs. They were precariously placed 5 down for 32 before the middle order batsman Tillekerantine (69) and all rounder Farveez Maharoof (46) recovered their innings with a brave fight back and added 111 runs for the sixth wicket. For Pakistan spear head Mahommad Asif ripped through the Sri Lankan batting with 4 for 41 and was ably supported by his partner Umar Gul (2/41) and spinner Danish Kaneria (3/44). Pakistan who are also often unpredictable gave yet another disappointing display and conceded 9 runs lead. From 122/3 the visitors collapsed to 176 all out. Maharoof (4/52) and Malinga (3/30) were the key tormentors picking up seven wickets and the ace spinner Maralithdran (3/41) added another three to his over all career tally of 600 wickets. Srilanka came back in the game strongly. Their batsman, Kumar Sangakkara (185), Mehla Jayawardene (82), Uppal Tharanga (72) and Samaraweera (64) masterly accumulated runs. Sri Lanka posted a huge score of 448 for 5 declared in their second Innings. None of the Pakistan Bowlers were effective on this occasion except Sanath Jayasuriya cheap dismissal by Mohammad Asif for 13. Sri Lanka had setup Pakistan an up till task to chase 458 runs for victory. Pakistan survived the penultimate day and finished at 89 for 2 after facing 41 overs. The remaining of the match will be more remembered for a grand recuse act performed by 24 year opener Shoaib Malik who scored has maiden Test hundred (148 Not out). Pakistan hero's paitent knock consumed 369 balls and was laced with 2 sixes and 21 fours. Indeed his patience and temperament not only rescued but saved Pakistan from a certain defeat. Pakistan also for their good fortune was helped by an 81 minute interruption due to bad light and rain on the fifth day. Faisal Iqbal (60) and Inzamam-ul-Haq (48) were the other principal scores in Pakistan's score of 337 for 4 in the second innings. Pakistan which on many previous occasions had not batted well under pressure in the fourth innings dispelled this impression and earned an honorable draw. Muttiah Muraltharan claimed 3 for 94.
Second Test – Asgiriya International Stadium, Kandy
Mohammad Asif with his incisive drippers claimed 11 wickets as Sri Lanka despite gaining a sizeable 109 runs first innings lead lost by 8 wickets inside three days Sri Lanka posted 279 (91.2 Overs) in the first innings. Kumar Sangakkara again exhibited a good touch scored 79 and Thillan Samara weera made 65. Mohammad Asif exploited a difficult pitch and claimed a career best innings haul of 6/44. The paceman was ably supported by wily spinner Danish Kanaria who claimed 4 for 53. But Pakistan bowlers feat was surprisingly undid by their batsman as they conceded a lead of 109 runs being dismissed for a relatively low score of 170 in 52.4 overs. Younis Khan scored 35 and Kamran Akmal compiled 33. The innings was chiefly demolished by Muttiah Muralitharan claiming 5 for 39. The second day was truly sensational as Mohammad Asif superably exploited the pitch and bowled brilliantly to turn the tables on Srilanka claiming 5 for 27 in 12 overs. He tore the Sri Lankan batting apart and clean bowled four of his five victims. Sanath Jayasuriya was absent heart and Sri Lanka were shotout for a paltry 73 in 24.5 overs. Abdul Razzaq proved an able ally to Mohammad Asif claiming 4 for 20 in 6.5 overs. Left to score 183 to win after 28 wickets had tumbled on the first two days the target apparently was tricky. Yet on this occasion Pakistan batsmen regained their confidence and achieved the target with consummate ease. Opener Imran Farhat laid the foundation of victory with superb 65 (11 fours) and Vice Captain Younis Khan Slammed 73 from just 98 balls with 12 boundaries. Mohammad Asif rightly deserved being adjudged as Man of the Match and of the series.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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