Sangakkara and Samraweera tons drive Sri Lanka
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:Pakistan v Sri Lanka
Player:Umar Gul, KC Sangakkara, TT Samaraweera
Event:Sri Lanka in Pakistan 2008/09

DateLine: 1st March 2009


The pitch was the centre of attention after the batting paradise in Karachi produced a tedious draw and the one in Lahore had an uneven cover of grass. The surface was expected to assist the fast bowlers initially but there were enough dry areas to keep the spinners interested as the match progresses. The pitch contributed little towards the wickets and the bowlers did not produce unplayable deliveries either. Umar Gul mixed his short-of-a-length cutters with full deliveries, trying to trap the left-hand batsmen in front, and sent down the odd bouncer.


Pakistani bowlers bowled to the Sri Lankan openers' strengths and induced mistakes. Warnapura fell due to his penchant for driving. The ball from Gul was not full enough to drive but Warnapura went for his favourite shot, only to edge it low to first slip. Paranavitana, who scored crisp boundaries with the cut, fell cutting hard to point where Shoaib Malik held on to a stunner. Mohammad Talha, the debutant who replaced Sohail Khan, was unspectacular but steady and he improved appreciably in his second spell. As in the first Test, Yasir Arafat was the best seam bowler. He bowled full, moved the ball late, and beat Jayawardene on couple of occasions.


The visitors recovered through a steady partnership between their two most experienced batsmen - Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. The pair added 61 for the third wicket after the early losses to take them to lunch, but Umar Gul struck in the third over after the lunch to have Jayawardene to edge behind where Akmal took a beautiful low catch diving to his right as the Lankan ship sunk further. At this point, Pakistan held the advantage at 96 for 3 but the partnership between a serene Kumar Sangakkara and a confident Thilan Samaraweera balanced the scales again. Shoaib Malik nearly edged Pakistan ahead again when he induced Sangakkara to stab to silly point but Faisal spilled it. Apart from that solitary let off, Sangakkara was in no trouble while Samaraweera, who hit a double-century in the first Test, didn't waste a run-scoring opportunity.


He took special liking to Kaneria, who was guilty of losing concentration once again and bowled several four-balls. Samaraweera used the drive and cut profitably when Kaneria erred in his length. After tea Samaraweera had no trouble in going past the fifty run mark. To add more salt to the wound Sangakkara was dropped by Faisal Iqbal at silly point which could be described as a difficult one but then Samaraweera on 68 offered a catch to Kamran Akmal off Kaneria but then Akmal who till then had a good outing dropped the catch much to the frustration of the bowler. It was very clear that of the two Samaraweera was going to be the aggressor as he manufactured some shots to collect boundaries as well as running hard, while Sangakkara was at his usual self of tapping the ball into the gaps to get his runs.


Samaraweera was the first one to bring up his ninth Test century in the 76th over via a thumping boundary over midwicket while Sangakkara brought up his eighteenth Test century in the next over thus piling up agony over the Pakistani team who were left ruing their lapses in the field. The new ball was taken immediately and in the second over with the new ball Arafat, who was sharing the duties with Gul, got Sangakkara to feather an edge to Akmal and he was finally gone for 104 thus ending a mammoth stand of 204 runs for the fourth wicket. In the eighty seventh over of the match, the umpires offered the light to the batsmen who accepted it and the Lankan score read for the day read at 317 for the loss of four wickets with Samaraweera unbeaten on 133 with Dilshan giving him company.



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