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By Abhijit Banare
Aug 14, 2014
Sri Lankan openers got the team off to a solid start on Day One of the second Test against Pakistan at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC), Colombo on Friday. Pakistan bowlers toiled hard as Lankans cruised to 69 for no loss at lunch. All eyes were on Mahela Jayawardene, playing his final Test on his home ground but it was the openers who stole the show. Upul Tharanga (28 not out) and Kaushal Silva (38 not out) have looked rock solid and played a patient game resisting the temptation to go big on an easy pitch.
On a pitch that was predicted to be heavily in favour of the batsmen, there was no surprises that whoever would win the toss will blindly opt to bat first. And the luck went in favour of Angelo Mathews who made the expected decision of batting. Pakistan brought in their talented pacer Wahab Riaz in for Mohammad Talha while Lanka were forced to include Chanakya Wellagedera in for an injured Shaminda Eranga.
The pace duo of Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz started off well but right from the beginning there was no movement or swing on offer. Tharanga looked vulnerable. He was under pressure to perform with Dimuth Karunaratne waiting to bag a spot at the top. However, the pacers didn’t keep it full consistently which allowed the batsmen to settle in. An hour in to the play, they had successfully seen of the new ball and Pakistan had already deployed two of their spinners from either end.
Meanwhile, Silva looked solid in his defence and hardly gave away anything to the bowlers. Pakistan’s hope rested on Saeed Ajmal, under pressure with his action being under scrutiny. There was not much turn for him and the openers negotiated him easily. There was a brief halt in play after 20 overs when an Ajmal delivery bounced awkwardly to hit the left ear of keeper Sarfaraz Ahmed. Even the Decision Reiew System (DRS) was unavailable due to technical reasons for a brief while but the pitch ensured that such a situation wasn’t anywhere near for the bowling team.
This is the first Test Pakistan are playing on their Independence Day and it certainly hasn’t been memorable so far. Tough task ahead for the visitors. The batting will only get easier as the day progresses.
Sri Lanka 69 for no loss (K Silva 38*, U Tharanga 28*) vs Pakistan.
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)
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