Pakistan take the advantage

Mohammad Asif’s steady rise to prominence continued even further today. First he helped secure a famous victory for Pakistan over India, and today he took four Sri Lankan wickets as they struggled to just 185.

After the disappointment of the first day washout, Sri Lanka came out to bat, with the intentions of building a big total. Those dreams were quickly dashed however, as they collapsed to 32/5.

First to go was Tharanga, fourth ball, without scoring. Jaysuriya followed three overs later, playing on to Umar Gul. Sangakkara and captain Jayawardene, with Vaas and Atapattu injured, lasted longer but failed to score many runs, Gul and Asif sharing their wickets. Asif soon added his third, Samaraweera leaving one that came back in.

At 32/5 Sri Lanka needed someone to save them from embarassment and luckily for them, Farveez Maharoof and Tillakaratne Dilshan were just that. After struggling at first, Dilshan decided that the best method of defence is attack.

After slapping Gul away on the off-side to get off the mark, he decided to wait for Razzaq to be introduced before flicking up another gear. Despite attacking, he was still cautious being very careful in choosing which balls to play and leave. He was well supported by Maharoof, ever improving with the willow, who made 46 before becoming Asif’s fourth victim.

Pakistan’s spinners were able to wrap up the tail without too much fuss, Danish Kaneria taking 3/44 as the tail reached 185.

With Pakistan batting, they came close to repeating Sri Lanka’s early collapse, but Inzamam Ul-Haq and Imran Farhat stopped the rot. Maharoof claimed two wickets in consecutive balls, and there was one for Lasith Malinga, as they reduced Pakistan to 28/3.

Ul-Haq and Farhat put on 94 in a partnership that spanned for almost the rest of the day. Inzamam made 30 in his usual laid-back fashion, following an uncertain start. Farhat’s innings on the other hand, was one of two stories. He flicked, cut and drove the spinners with skill and composure, but against the seamers he slogged and edged. Unsurprisingly it was a seamer who brought about his downfall, top-edging a hook.

Pakistan closed on 124/4, 65 runs behind Sri Lanka with six wickets left. If they bat well tomorrow, they could build a big lead, but if they don’t, they could be on fairly level terms with the Sri Lankans.

Sri Lanka 185
Tillakaratne Dilshan 69, Farveez Maharoof 46
Mohammad Asif 4/41, Danish Kaneria 3/44

Pakistan 124-4
Imran Farhat 69, Inzamam Ul-Haq 30*
Lasith Malinga 2/24, Farveez Maharoof 2/29

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