Bowlers put Sri Lanka on top

Sri Lanka owed it to its bowlers for taking the opening day honours against Pakistan in the second Test in Dubai on Wednesday (January 8). By the close, Sri Lanka had knocked off 57 runs for the loss of the opener Dimuth Karunaratne, trapped leg-before to Junaid Khan for 32.

A three-pronged pace and one-man spin attack helped Sri Lanka bowl out Pakistan for just 165 after Angelo Mathews won the toss and opted to bowl.

The right-arm pacer Nuwan Pradeep finished with a career-best 3 for 62 while Shaminda Eranga (2 for 25), Suranga Lakmal (2 for 45) and Rangana Herath (3 for 26) were also useful in the second session.

Kaushal Silva and Kumar Sangakkara were each on 12 as Sri Lanka trailed Pakistan by 108 runs with nine wickets intact.

Initially, it looked as if Sri Lanka had miscalculated in bowling first as Ahmed Shehzad, trapped leg-before by Pradeep in the tenth over for three, was the only man out by lunch, but five wickets fell for 71 runs as Pakistan slumped from 57 for 1 to 128 for 6 at tea.

Khurram Manzoor, the opener, top-scored with 73 in an otherwise insipid batting display.

Sri Lanka’s pacers had little success in the first session. To make matters worse, its hard work was spoilt by some sloppy fielding. Angelo Mathews, the captain, put Ahmed Shehzad down in the slips off Suranga Lakmal with the opener yet to get off the mark, but the lapse did not prove costly.

Following that, Mahela Jayawardena dropped Mohammad Hafeez off the first ball he faced, but Pradeep had the last laugh when he castled Hafeez soon after lunch.

Eranga accounted for both, Younus Khan (13) and Misbah-ul-Haq (1), dismissing the two batsmen in the space of seven balls to push Pakistan to the brink as it slipped from a position of dominance — 107 for 2 to 109 for 4 — before reaching 128 for 6.

Lakmal then had Khurram Manzoor caught behind off a rash shot for 73 while Asad Shafiq miscued a drive and was caught in the covers for six.

Pradeep, who had three wickets in his previous four Tests, dismissed Sarfraz Ahmed after tea to claim his best figures in Tests. Herath polished off the tail to wrap Pakistan’s innings.

(Courtesy: International Cricket Council)