Cricket

Pakistan fightback to 140-3 at tea

2014-08-06 12:54
Younis Khan (AP Photo)

Galle, Sri Lanka — Younis Khan led Pakistan's fightback with an eventful half century and took visitors to 140-3 at tea on the first day of the first test against Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

Khan twice overturned umpire's decisions and was also dropped by Mahela Jayawardene on 68 before reaching 77 off 146 balls with five fours and a six at the break with captain Misbah-ul-Haq unbeaten on a snail-paced 22 off 87 balls.

Fast bowler Dhammika Prasad's twin strikes had left Pakistan struggling at 59-3 by lunch before Khan dominated the bowling by putting on 81 runs with Misbah as the pitch eased out for batting.

Prasad had removed Pakistan's openers in quick succession as the visitors struggled in the morning session after Misbah won the toss and elected to bat under overcast conditions.

Prasad (2-33) removed Ahmed Shehzad and Khurram Manzoor cheaply in a lively opening spell and ace spinner Rangana Herath clean bowled Azhar Ali for 30 to have Pakistan in early trouble.

Pakistan top order batsmen showed rustiness from a long layoff of over six months since last playing a test match in January, when it defeated Sri Lanka at Sharjah to level that series.

Prasad, who missed the home series against South Africa, came back strongly with the new ball as he replaced spinner Ajantha Mendis in the playing XI. The right-arm fast bowler broke through with his third delivery as Shehzad edged the ball onto middle stump, and then trapped Manzoor leg before wicket to leave Pakistan at 19-2.

Ali, who hit a century in Pakistan's monumental run-chase at Sharjah, looked confident and hit five boundaries before he was undone by Herath's superb delivery that spun away from the right-hander and hit the off stump.

Khan, who successfully overturned umpire Bruce Oxenford's caught behind decision off Prasad's sharp delivery before lunch, completed his 29th test half century with a punching off drive to cover boundary off Dilruwan Perera before turning the offspinner for a single and then hitting a towering six over wide long on.

Khan was again spot on when on 58 he overturned another Oxenford's decision after he was ruled out lbw off Perera's delivery that television replays showed would have missed the top of stumps by a whisker.

The luck continued to favor Khan as Jayawardene smartly anticipated Khan's reverse sweep but could not hold onto two-handed catch in the lone slip.

Earlier, Sri Lanka's most accomplished batsman Jayawardene led the team onto the field with children giving him a guard of honor with raised bats and his team-mates clapping from the sidelines.

Jayawardene will be playing his last test at his favorite Galle International Stadium and will retire after the second test at his home ground in Colombo.

The stadium was decorated with giant hoardings and billboards of Jayawardene to pay tribute to the great Sri Lankan, who has scored over 10,000 runs in both test matches and one-day internationals.

Read more on:    sri lanka  |  pakistan  |  cricket
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