Sri Lanka post mammoth 606
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 2nd March 2009
Thilan Samaraweera and Tillakaratne Dilshan cashed in against a weak bowling attack as the Sri Lankan forced Younis Khan into making bowling changes and alterations to his field. Thilan Samaraweera reached his second double hundred of the series while Dilshan made up his failure for the previous Yest duck by getting a century for himself. For the first time in the series, even the metronomic Yasir Arafat found it difficult to keep the batsmen quiet as he bowled on both side of the wicket to be duly punished.
Dilshan is known for his weakness against the short ball, but today he played the hook perfectly when Arafat tested him. The error Pakistan were hoping for never came and so they reverted to a fuller length, which resulted in Dilshan unfurling several drives. Meanwhile, Samaraweera continued to accumulate steadily. He started the day with a flick through midwicket off Arafat before pulling and cutting Talha without ever looking hurried. Thilan Samaraweera fell after reaching his second double-century of the series but Tillakaratne Dilshan continued after his hundred to take Sri Lanka to a commanding position by tea in Lahore. With Umar Gul finding reverse swing, Pakistan stepped up their game in the second session.
Gul found some prodigious reverse swing towards the tail-end of the second session that he began to look threatening for the first time in the day. Gul troubled the batsmen with reverse swing and moved the ball both ways. After harassing Prasanna Jayawardene with inswinging yorkers, he induced an edge by getting the ball to hold its line outside off. A similar trick almost did for Dilshan but Misbah-ul-Haq dropped a sitter at first slip. Gul continued to work his magic, hitting Thilan Thushara on the helmet with a sharp bouncer before bowling him with a sharp bouncer. It was his fifth wicket but Gul got little support from the other bowlers. When play resumed after tea Dilshan was run out when Shoaib Malik ran him out through a direct hit and then in the next ball Mendis found his stumps splayed all over. Mohammad Talha got his first Test victim in the form of Muralidharan when he went for a wild swing across the line only to be cleaned up.
Pakistan had to face a minimum of 24 overs and both the openers Salman Butt and Khurram Manzoor raced away from the blocks as they rattled of boundaries at will in the opening overs of their innings. The pace of the innings never slackened down as the openers found boundaries almost every over. The Pakistani duo hammered Fernando out of the attack and that forced Jayawardene to turn to Mendis and finally to Murali. Instead of being bugged down they took the attack to the spinners and Murali in particular looked rattled by the surprise onslaught. Even towards the tail end of the day both the batsmen were on look out for scoring opportunities and in the end a run-out got Salman Butt dismissed in the final over of the day.