Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st Test, Galle, 2nd day June 23, 2012

Sri Lanka take charge after wicket frenzy


Pakistan 48 for 5 (Randiv 2-5, Kulasekara 2-15) trail Sri Lanka 472 (Sangakkara 199*, Dilshan 101, M Jayawardene 62, Ajmal 5-146) by 424 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

After the first day in Galle, the score was 300 for 2; on the second day, 13 wickets went down for 219 runs. Those contrasting statistics, however, did nothing to change the overall status of the match: Sri Lanka continue to boss the game, first piling on 472 (their highest total against Pakistan in Sri Lanka), and then raising more questions about the fragile Pakistan batting by taking out five early wickets.

Despite Sri Lanka being in charge, it was a bittersweet day for Kumar Sangakkara. He became the quickest batsman to reach 2000 Test runs against a single team, but he also became only the second player in Test history to be stranded on 199. That too, after signalling his double-century in the penultimate over of the innings, only to be told it was a scorecard error.

In the morning, Saeed Ajmal had underlined why he's the top-ranked Test spinner in the world by taking three big wickets to raise hopes of a Pakistan fightback. Prasanna Jayawardene, though, again showed his value as a lower-order scrapper, supporting Sangakkara for a couple of hours to keep Sri Lanka firmly ahead in the Galle Test.

That advantage was multiplied in the final hour and a half as Pakistan's batting floundered in the fading light. Nuwan Kulasekara repaid his recall to the Test side after more than a year on the sidelines by taking two wickets in his third over. His trademark inswinger made only an infrequent appearance but that didn't affect him as he had Taufeeq Umar lbw shouldering arms to a delivery on the stumps, and then handed Azhar Ali a golden duck as the batsman flirted with a ball outside off, only to feather it to the keeper.

Then the spinners took over. Mohammad Hafeez was a prime candidate for the lbw as he adopted the dangerous tactic of playing flighted length deliveries off the back foot. He escaped a few times against Rangana Herath, but not against Suraj Randiv, who then dismissed the nightwatchman Ajmal first ball. Herath had reward for his sustained interrogation of the batsman's technique by getting Asad Shafiq to edge to the keeper. The umpires had a tough time as there were innumerable vociferous appeals, as the spinners regularly operated with five fielders round the bat. Younis Khan survived, but at 48 for 5, a long tail and the follow-on 224 runs away, Pakistan are left needing a miracle.

Batting wasn't easy in the morning either as only 11 runs had come off the first seven overs. Like on Friday, Mahela Jayawardene decided to ease the pressure with an enterprising stroke, this time a reverse-sweep for four. Two balls later, he went for the slog-sweep against Ajmal, but missed and was bowled.

Sangakkara has been Sri Lanka's most assured batsman in the match, but even he had his problems against Ajmal. He used the slog-sweep effectively, picking up a couple of boundaries in an Ajmal over, but in between he was beaten by the extra bounce Ajmal generated. Once, as he looked to defend outside off, he couldn't get anywhere near the ball as it spun away sharply.

He survived, but Thilan Samaraweera didn't last long. The Ajmal doosra, possibly the most feared delivery in Test cricket today, confounded Samaraweera, dragging him out of the crease, before Adnan Akmal completed a smart stumping. The very next ball, Angelo Mathews perished, though it wasn't due to any Ajmal magic. It was a full and wide delivery that Mathews limply drove at to hand the bowler a simple caught-and-bowled. In two deliveries, Ajmal had taken as many wickets as Pakistan had on all of the first day.

Left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman didn't have the same success as Ajmal, though he too posed plenty of questions for the batsman. Early in Prasanna Jayawardene's innings, Rehman got a delivery to drift in before spinning just past the outside edge, and bouncing just over the middle stump. A wicket there and Sri Lanka would have been 346 for 6, and Pakistan could have eyed a quick close to the innings.

Instead, once again a Sangakkara-Jayawardene partnership frustrated them. The batsmen found it a little easier after lunch, with Prasanna flicking several boundaries off his pads. Sangakkara was circumspect after those early slog-swept boundaries, dealing almost entirely in singles and zeroes, perhaps a silent tribute to mark the 100th birth anniversary of the great logician Alan Turing. The pair added 80 to lift Sri Lanka past 400, and though Prasanna was caught behind on 48, the damage had already been done.

Sangakkara moved to 170 by tea, but with Pakistan striking twice more before tea, he showed more urgency after the break. He did decline several singles to keep Rangana Herath away from the strike, but he also launched a six over long-on, attempted a scoop - a shot he hadn't tried all match - and pushed Herath to return for a tight second that resulted in a run-out. When on 192, there was an impatient swing that lobbed to mid-off but the bowler Mohammad Hafeez couldn't latch on to a tough chance.

Soon after, he swiped a six over midwicket and celebrated as the scorecard showed his 200, but the dressing room soon pointed out that he was still on 199. He defended the next ball, the final delivery of the over, to give strike to the last man Nuwan Pradeep, who was bowled off the second delivery, leaving the Galle crowd disappointed despite Sri Lanka's strong position.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 25, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    For me, Pakistan's batting has been worsened by Whatmore's 'different teams per format' policy. Admittedly, I had thought of it being somewhat a revelation which would help Pakistan utilize the depth of talent present, and also assist in bringing about an array of talented youth forward to the international platform. Yet, this series has proved that the short-term effects of this policy would be disastrous. Consider Hafeez, who himself is struggling for form, being allotted a different opening partner per every format.Furthermore, the constant shuffling of batsmen in and out of the team have left them having not only hindered any batsmen to properly understand the conditions but also increased the pressure to perform greatly. One can only hope that Whatmore is given time (although that is an improbability considering the PCB), in order to properly structure his plans for the Pakistani team properly. One also hopes that the coach actually has a plan for the future, as well!!

  • Srinivasan on June 24, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    Ha ha, this is the Pakistan side which some of the Pak fans claimed as the no.1 side after beating the sorry English/SA side. How would a team with batsmen at club standard at best would become #1? Now their fans would know that a mediocre team won't become world beaters by beating another mediocre team. lol

  • Azm on June 24, 2012, 6:36 GMT

    100 all out! Poor batting but even worse umpiring! DRS has got to be made mandatory for all Test games!

  • Deepak on June 24, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    @Tusker17 - "global WHUPPING boys" LOL what does that mean?

  • Deepak on June 24, 2012, 6:25 GMT

    @Tusker17 - India also played its first Test in South Africa only in 1992. Do some Statsguru search before posting genius stuff! India's first win in SA came in 2006 whereas SL's came in 2012! Which is the better team? Anyone can guess. Also the Lankans have been playing Tests in India since 1982 winning none as yet. 30 years is a long time mate.

  • Srinivasan on June 24, 2012, 6:23 GMT

    @Sinhaya: Don't gloat on a solitary test victory in SA. After SL were embarrassed within 3 days in Centurion, they given a slow SL type pitch in Durban to make the series competitive. It was not as if SL beat SA on a green top. On the other hand, India beaten SA twice in green tops in Durban and Johannesburg. Finally, SL have 0 test wins in India, Australia and only 1 in SA, WI. lol

  • Dummy4 on June 24, 2012, 6:18 GMT

    It's not about India, Pakistan, or Sri Lanka..we love cricket. Sangakkara is a world class batsmen, no doubts about what he did for SriLanka and world cricket in general. Hopefully under the guidance of Sanga and Jayawardane, Srilanka team gets stronger. So far it's a really interesting series...stop fighting about the nations, appreciate the good cricket played by these will be very interesting if young Pakistan team fight backs...

  • narsimha on June 24, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    PRADEEPDEALWIS-DHONI OR BCCI have not said that DRS should not be used in SL-PAK matches. we do have some reservations on this issue, see how our team was at receiving in ENG, DRAVIDS wicket was class example, so we oppose only when we are plying , this is up to these boards but affordability is main reason, why DRS are missing in this series, so dont drag un neccessarily DHONI, BCCI if u want to bear the expeses by ICC than respect BCCCI as we are more than 80% revenue contributors to icc.

  • Prashan on June 24, 2012, 4:08 GMT

    @thekaxk, Sri Lanka will win a test match in India, wait and see. Once UDRS is used in tests non stop, it will happen. Hey also what happened to your 2nd string team in the West Indies? Lost 2-1 and the sole win was by a whisker whereas Windies beat you all twice convincingly. Future of Indian test cricket is bleak.

  • Prashan on June 24, 2012, 4:06 GMT

    @just_chill_chill, how many tests have India won in South Africa? Only 2 in spite all opportunities. Sri Lanka won 1 test in South Africa and remember 35 years ago Sri Lanka did not have test status and also, 35 years ago South Africa was suspended. So in our 9th test match in South Africa, to have registered a win was really great.

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