Wickets tumble on Day 2

Today’s play was dominated by a pair of outstanding bowling performances. The first, by Muttiah Muralitharan gave Sri Lanka a 109-run lead, but Asif’s means they won’t add too much to that lead.

Before Muralitharan could get going, Asif and Kaneria shared a wicket each in finishing off Sri Lanka’s tail, for 279. For Pakistan, yet another new opening pair came out to bat, Kamran Akmal and Imran Farhat. They did reasonably well, with a partnership of 57 but it was one which full of uncertainty. After somehow not finding a fielder in the slip cordon early on, Akmal broke his bat attempting a pull while Farhat drove the air several inches from the ball.

Eventually, they managed to find the middle of their bats but following a string of maidens Sri Lanka found the breakthrough. Farhat at last connected with a drive off Kulasekera, but found only the edge and Jayasuriya at first slip, who split a webbing taking the catch. It was at this point when Muralitharan was introduced, finding turn bounce and after two overs, the edge of Akmal’s bat.

Yousuf and Younis were less slow to get going, and rattled up a 50 partnership. Unsurprisingly, it was Murali who broke it, bowling Yousuf as he tried to cut. Younis was to follow, but at the hands of Maharoof. Faisal Iqbal began confidently, sweeping Murali for four, but he soon responded with a doosra, something he seldom bowled today, and trapped him lbw. This wicket was soon followed up with that of Razzaq’s.

Pakistan needed a big contribution from Inzamam to get close to Sri Lanka, but he was run out, after being slow responding to Anjum’s call. The rest of the tail didn’t hang around, Murali adding his fifth wicket and Kulasekera his second, while Sami was run out.

Sri Lanka began with a lead of 109, but already effectively one down, with Jayasuriya unlikely to bat. Once Asif had got into his uncannily McGrath-esque stride, he’d taken two wickets to reduce Sri Lanka to 42-2, bowling Upul Tharanga and his makeshift partner Sangakkara. Samaraweera soon joined them, failing to offer a shot to one that came back in.

Razzaq got in on the act too, with Jayawardene playing on. Asif added the two more he needed to reach his second 5-for of the match. With all specialist batsman now gone, Razzaq claimed the wickets of Bandara and Kulasekera, each batting more than one place too high.

Sri Lanka lost seven wickets for 33 runs, yet still have a good chance of winning this game. They lead by 182, in a game which will probably be over tomorrow, after 20 wickets fell today.

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

Pakistan 170
Younis Khan 35
Muttiah Muralitharan 5-39

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