Sri Lankans hit back with early wickets
PAKISTAN'S fast bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Abdur Rauf sparkled on their debuts but it was Sri Lanka who walked off with the advantage on day one of the first Test in Galle.
Aamer struck two early blows in the morning to reduce the home side to 21 for two and picked up a third wicket in the first over after tea, while Rauf claimed a brace as Sri Lanka were eventually bowled out for 292.
Seven overs remained in the day for Pakistan to start their reply, and the home side hit back, with Nuwan Kulasekara bowling Salman Butt for a first-ball duck and Thilan Thushara trapping Khurram Manzoor in front for just two. Pakistan reached 15 for two at stumps.
While Sri Lanka lost wickets regularly through the day, they still scored freely enough in overcast and testing conditions.
Opener Tharanga Paranavitana had anchored the top order en route to 72 and his maiden half century, while debutant Angelo Mathews, batting at seven, scored 42, adding a touch of respectability to Sri Lanka's score.
The day, however, belonged to Pakistan's inexperienced pace attack led by Aamer and Rauf.
As he did on his debut in the World Twenty20 in England, 17-year-old Aamer struck in his first over, sending back opener Malinda Warnapura cheaply.
Aamer had shared the new ball with Umar Gul and had troubled the left-hand batsman with pace and movement.
Warnapura got off the mark with a miscued lofted drive which fell just wide of mid-on, but failed to keep a wickedly swerving delivery from crashing into his off stump.
Aamer then claimed the prize scalp of Kumar Sangakkara, inducing a thick edge and having the Sri Lanka captain caught by Shoaib Malik at third slip.
The damage in that first session could have been worse for Sri Lanka, had Pakistan's fielding been a little sharper.
Paranavitana was dropped on four by Shoaib Malik, while wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal put down a sitter offered by Mahela Jayawardene while the former skipper was yet to score.
Instead, Sri Lanka recovered thanks to a 75-run stand between the pair, both growing in confidence as Sri Lanka edged to the 100-run mark.
But Pakistan struck back through Rauf who had Jayawardene as his first Test victim.
Jayawardene had contributed 30 runs to the partnership when he leaned forward to defend a delivery from Rauf, only for the outside edge to fly straight to Akmal. The wicketkeeper made no mistake this time.
Sri Lanka spent the first hour after lunch reviving their innings, but struggled to gain any significant momentum.
Thilan Samaraweera had plodded and pushed in his usual fashion for his 31 runs before uncharacteristically falling to the guile of part-time bowler Younus Khan.
Pakistan's captain had surprisingly brought himself on and had delivered two probing overs in the morning session.
The game seemed to be meandering in the middle session when Younus brought himself back on and struck immediately by dismissing Samaraweera caught behind.
Paranavitana had already departed a shot earlier, handing Rauf his second wicket by chasing a short and wide delivery only to be snaffled by Misbah-ul Haq.
Those wickets brought Tillakaratne Dilshan and Angelo Mathews – Sri Lanka's last recognised batting pair – to the crease and for the first time Sri Lanka looked in the ascendancy.
Dilshan began in customary aggressive fashion and had looked good during his 28 until a fondness for boundaries proved his undoing.
Aamer fed him a juicy delivery wide of off-stump and the batsman went down on a knee, but sliced it straight to Malik at gully. Dilshan departed in the first over after the tea interval, but Mathews forged on before becoming Gul's first victim.
A tidy innings from Kulasekara and his small, but time-consuming, stand for the eighth wicket with Rangana Herath frustrated the visitors further and edged Sri Lanka closer to the 300-run mark.
Younus' mixed bag of medium-pace eventually consumed Kulasekara (38) and Herath was not out on 20 when Sri Lanka's innings ended eight short of the mark with the dismissal of number 11 batsman Ajantha Mendis.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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