Pakistan cruise to victory

A solid second innings batting performance ensured that Pakistan finished as comfortable winners against Sri Lanka on the third day at Kandy. Half-centuries of different styles by Imran Farhat and Younis Khan, who went on to top-score in the innings with 73. Sri Lanka only managed to pick up two wickets in the day before Mohammad Yousuf glanced Malinga to deep-square-leg for two runs and brought up the victory.

The victory ensured that Pakistan win the series and also meant that they retained their record of not having lost a test nor series in Sri Lanka for 13 years, quite a remarkable feat.

However, nothing had looked so certain when early on Pakistan?s opening batsmen, Kamran Akmal and Imran Farhat, scored relatively quickly but not without offering chances to the Sri Lankans.

Farhat had, early on, been rattled by a Farveez Maharoof bouncer and Akmal played and missed at a delivery that jagged away sharply before catching hold of a cover-drive and watching the ball disappear towards the fence for a much needed boundary. Nine runs came from the over and play continued similarly throughout the session until Kamran Akmal, having reached 24, edged a rising away-swinger to Sangakkara who leapt and caught spectacularly behind the stumps.

Farhat continued to find the meat of his bat and then play straight around a delivery, something that occurred frequently throughout his innings and doing absolutely nothing for the confidence of his team. However, the boundary that flew to the fence once in a while also put the Sri Lankans on edge, and, with Muralitharan still to bowl at this point, every outcome excluding a draw was still very much alive.

Nearing Lunch, Farhat survived numerous appeals for his wicket; Maharoof was convinced he?d found the edge of the opener?s bat and Muralitharan was equally adamant that he?d trapped Farhat leg-before-wicket twice. Once from over the wicket and the other from around. The umpire did not move, either time.

Farhat had managed to stay at the crease by Lunch despite the quantity of chances that he?d offered. The opposites in Farhat?s and Younis? innings was clear; Younis, having driven for four down the ground twice, decided to play a more assured game accumulating runs rather than taking risks for them, Farhat?s obvious game plan.

After the interval, both Farhat and Younis, this time, began to attack. Various boundaries flew off and not much time passed between play?s resumption and Pakistan?s hundred-up.

With the batsmen continuing their assault savagely, the Sri Lankans began to get the impression that this was not to be their day and a Farhat slog over mid-on for his ninth boundary practically sealed the fate of the match.

Farhat brought up his half-century with an uncharacteristic nudge, and went onto 65 before he edged to slip, only the second wicket Pakistan had lost in the day for 152 runs.

The victory was surprisingly comfortable for the visitors, but had it for been for their luck, then it could have been quite a different story altogether.

Sri Lanka 279 & 73-8
Kumar Sangakkara 16
Mohammad Asif 5-27, Abdul Razzaq 3-20

Pakistan won by 8 wickets

Pakistan 170 & 183-2
Imran Farhat 65
Younis Khan 73*

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