Sri Lanka win Test series after Pakistan cave in
by AFP

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

DateLine: 14th July 2009


Sri Lanka clinched their first home series against Pakistan after the temperamental tourists suffered a spectacular collapse in the second Test here on Tuesday.


Pakistan, sitting pretty at 285-1 just before lunch on the third day, crashed to 320 all out after the break to leave Sri Lanka a victory target of 171 for a decisive 2-0 lead in the three-match series.


Sri Lanka cruised home by seven wickets with two days to spare, skipper Kumar Sangakkara leading the way with a fluent 46 after opener Malinda Warnapura made 54.


Of the previous five series between the two nations on Sri Lankan soil, Pakistan had won three and drawn two, but the tourists had only themselves to blame for allowing the hosts to re-write history.


Pakistan's meek surrender against the second new ball came after debutant opener Fawad Alam hit a superb 168 and shared a record stand of 200 for the second wicket with skipper Younus Khan (82).


The partnership was Pakistan's highest for the second wicket against Sri Lanka, surpassing the 151 by Mohsin Khan and Majid Khan at Lahore in 1982.


The 23-year-old Alam batted for more than six hours to amass the highest score by a Pakistani batsman on Sri Lankan soil, surpassing the 151 by Salim Malik at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo in 1997.


But Pakistan lost their last nine wickets for 35 runs, their third successive collapse in the series that highlighted their reputation as one of the most unpredictable sides in modern cricket.


Pakistan had seen eight wickets fall for 46 runs on the fourth morning of the Galle Test when just 97 more were needed to win the match.


The tourists then crumbled for a paltry 90 in 36 overs on the first day of this Test after electing to bat on a wicket that provided assistance to the seam bowlers.


Sri Lanka did not feel the absence of star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, out of action with a knee injury, as left-arm slow bowler Rangana Herath claimed 5-99 and seamer Nuwan Kulasekera took 4-37.


Skipper Younus himself triggered the collapse just before lunch when he gifted his wicket, top-edging an ambitious reverse sweep off part-time spinner Paranavitana to the wicket-keeper.


Sangakkara's gamble to hand the new ball to spinner Herath, man of the match at Galle, paid off handsomely.


Herath trapped veteran Mohammad Yousuf leg-before with his second delivery as the batsman missed the line of a straight ball after making six.


Kulasekera had Misbah-ul Haq leg-before for three before Herath ended Alam's long vigil at the crease by having him edging an easy catch to Warnapura at short-leg.


Kulasekera caught Kamran Akmal plumb in front of the wicket and Herath bowled Shoaib Malik after the former Pakistan captain had smashed the previous delivery for a six.


The last three batsmen were leg-before in quick succession.


The dramatic collapse undid Pakistan's remarkable fightback in the match after they had fallen for 90 on the first day.


The bowlers, led by Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal, had hit back to dismiss Sri Lanka for 240 before Alam and Younus made light of a first innings deficit of 150 runs.


The third and final Test starts at the Sinhalese sports club on July 20.

(Article: Copyright © 2009 AFP)


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