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By Amit Banerjee
Aug 15, 2014
Pakistan were 47 for the loss of one wicket at the end of nine overs at Lunch on Day 2 of the second and final Test against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo. Khurram Manzoor and Ajmal Shehzad scored 23 and 21 respectively to give the visitors a good start against the Lankans.
Resuming from their overnight score of 261 for eight, the onus was on the remaining three batsmen to guide the hosts past 300, which would be seen as a respectable total on this ground though experts were expecting the hosts to fire with the bat on this pitch which hardly has anything for the bowlers.
The lower order managed to carry out the task of dragging the hosts past the 300-run mark with a variety of shots. The duo of Rangana Herath Chanaka Welegedera played a few hard-hitting unorthodox shots all over the park against the likes of Wahab Riaz and Junaid Khan. There were moments of tension between the two sides at times, with a flurry of words being exchanged between Herath and Junaid leading to an interesting contest between the two for some time.
It finally took skipper Misbah-ul-Haq to introduce spin in order to ebb the flow of runs, with Abdur Rehman foxing Herath off his third delivery of his first over of the day. Herath edged a ball that he looking to defend and gave Younis Khan a simple opportunity, which he grabbed without hesitation to pick his 100th Test catch. Khan became the first Pakistani to achieve this milestone as a result.
Mahela Jayawardene got a rousing reception upon entering the ground with a Guard-of-Honour. The Pakistani openers started to fire on the word go, with Ahmed Shehzad smashing three consecutive boundaries off Welegedera. The ball kept crossing the boundary line regularly and Angelo Mathews was left looking at further options in spite of introducing star spinner Herath in the fifth over itself.
The ploy eventually worked though as Herath managed to remove a dangerous-looking Manzoor by came slightly down the track in order to defend a well-flighted delivery, managing to edge it to keeper Niroshan Dickwella instead. The duo of Shehzad and Azhar Ali have the responsibility of sticking to the crease for the rest of the day if they aim to hop into the driver’s seat anytime soon.
Pakistan 47 for 1 (K Manzoor 23, Ajmal Shehzad 21*; Herath 1 for 12) trail Sri Lanka 320 (Upul Tharanga 92, K Silva 41, Angelo Mathews; Junaid Khan 5 for 87) by 273 runs.
(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, traveling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)
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