Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 2nd Test, SSC, Colombo, 1st day June 30, 2012

Benign pitch, bloodyminded batsmen ruin SL gamble

96

Pakistan 334 for 1 (Hafeez 172*, Ali 92*, Taufeeq 65) v Sri Lanka
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Sri Lanka ventured, but didn't gain. When they won the toss, they could have easily strapped their pads on and added to their already impressive records on the SSC sleeping beauty. However, they chose to try to exploit whatever juice there might have been in the first session and to put pressure on a batting line-up that has proved brittle on this tour. Milking rocks has proved easier.

There was neither juice in the pitch nor brittleness in the visitors' batting as Pakistan went on to score 300 in the first innings of a Test for the first time since January 2007. Mohammad Hafeez quietly played himself back into form before hurtling along to his personal best, also his first score of more than 37 on this tour. Taufeeq Umar allowed Hafeez the gift of inconspicuousness as he plundered 65 out of the 78-run opening stand. Hafeez then shared the booty with Azhar Ali, letting him get his eye in after the golden duck in Galle, as he himself looted 85 off 98 in the middle session. He was 20 off 73 at lunch.

As for the early juice, a grand total of one ball beat the bat in the first session, and another edge fell well short of second slip. It was always going to be a risk putting a side in, and Mahela Jayawardene might even be hauled over the coals for that, but he genuinely felt this was the only way to push for a result on his notoriously lifeless home pitch. Sri Lanka did the same against Australia last year, but back then they were behind in the series.

Be that as the pitch may, the importance of this effort for Pakistan can't be overstated. Sri Lanka's decision to field first on a batting beauty despite a lead they could sit on says a lot about the regard they held the visiting batsmen in. Pakistan needed a solid response. And solidly they began, surprisingly against Nuwan Kulasekara and Angelo Mathews, and not the quicker Nuwan Pradeep.

Pradeep's extra pace, when introduced in the sixth over, meant the keeper could stand back but also that the batsmen could drive him through the line. Hafeez didn't bring the car keys in the first session, but Taufeeq repeatedly drove on the up. It was no coincidence that the openers came good for Pakistan. They have enjoyed, and deserved, rare faith for a Pakistan opening pairing. This is the 17th straight Test they are opening in, easily a Pakistan record. They have responded with five century stands, another record for Pakistan, and today's was their sixth half-century association.

Spin in the first hour was an expected sight, but Suraj Randiv created little impression. When Mathews came back, Taufeeq greeted him with three fours in the 18th over. The third of those brought up the half-century, out of a team score of 62. Taufeeq grew more adventurous, hit three more quick fours before edging a short delivery from Mathews, which was smartly taken by Prasanna Jayawardene when standing up to the stumps. A gift more than reward.

Hafeez, 12 off 55 then, and Ali saw off the next 24 minutes without incident. It is likely Hafeez didn't have a proper lunch because he feasted on the bowling after the break. It was as if he had spent the 40 minutes successfully looking for car keys. For when he came back he repeatedly charged down to the spinners, lapped them fine, and forced them to bowl short. And when they did pitch short, Hafeez was quick to smash them square. Even Pakistan's nemesis Rangana Herath didn't pose a threat.

Hafeez brought up the half-century with a punch wide of point, and you could almost hear a sigh of relief. Ali, 13 off 35 then, and wearing a cap as opposed to Hafeez's helmet, steadily picked up pace without doing anything that would draw attention to him. You want such innings once in a while.

Hafeez didn't mind the attention as he continuing lofting, lapping and punching unchecked. He miscued once, but Randiv saw that slice clear Kulasekara who ran back from mid-on. Hafeez was 65 then. In due time he brought up his century with a dink around the corner, and went down for the sajda.

Circumstances continued to tease Sri Lanka; in the last over before tea, Hafeez edged down the leg side only for replays to show Mathews had over-stepped. Salt met wound when Hafeez pulled Mathews for four in the same over, Hafeez's 12th boundary of the session. Azhar, on the other hand, scored so slyly even the scorers at the ground missed one of his singles, and informed him of his fifty when he had reached 51.

The next challenge for the batsmen would be the new ball, and the two added 94 more after tea in the 23 overs before the event. Hafeez reached his first 150, and Ali was 20 short of a third century. Pakistan approached the new ball with caution, which might have slowed down the arrival of landmarks. Hafeez managed the third-highest score for a Pakistan batsman on the first day, Ali finished eight short of the century, but the two broke the record for the highest second-wicket partnership against Sri Lanka.

The DRS debate made its obligatory reference when Simon Taufel seemed to have missed a thin edge from Hafeez in the 88th over, but everyone will agree that even the most advanced technology might struggle to bring life to the SSC track.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sinhaya on July 1, 2012, 17:10 GMT

    @@sobersfan, if SL batting is amateurish then how did Thilan Samaraweera manage 2 consecutive test tons in South Africa? How did Sri Lanka get England all out twice in Galle in March if our bowling is worse than Bangladesh? If we are worse than Bangladesh why has ICC ranked us well ahead of them? Have a good answer to these questions. You should lie low after all your predictions backfired. Remember Sri Lanka are the last team to win an ODI in England which happened at Lords this time last year when Chandimal scored a ton. This proves our batting is great.

  • Sinhaya on July 1, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    @sobersfan, Sri Lanka are a very good side and that was why we won the first test. Even without DRS, our bowlers excelled. You are wrong as ODIs we won triumphantly. Sri Lankan batting is world class and we can beat any team always. You are talking nonsense. I can have a laughter holiday reading your comments. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene are great batsmen always.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on July 1, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Mahela was Over Confidence and asked PAK tp bat. Well done PAKs.

  • on July 1, 2012, 5:52 GMT

    Hafeez showed us the perfect example of not performing under captaincy. I hope Pakistan wins this we need to bowl good.

  • Nizam1949 on July 1, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    Cricket, after all, is indeed a funny game! One day you are done and out, and the next you turn out to be heroes, as Pakistan playing on this pitch in this Test has re-stated Cricket's truism with the willow that had been wilted in the not-too-distant past in Sri Lanka for them.

    Perhaps, the Gods of Cricket deserve the plaudits for this topsy-turvy marvel magic of Cricketing folk lore more than the mere mortals of the Pakistan team. Albeit, while the Cricketing God has been, and remains, both the playwright and director, the Pakistani players as actors on the stage do deserve accolades for playing their roles to the hilt and to tune.

    But, the play in the theater hasn't ended as yet, and the curtains haven't been drawn. Act 1 is in progress; wait till the play comes to an end.

  • Silly_Me_Don on July 1, 2012, 4:18 GMT

    Mahela is a great captain on the field, but lately has made some questionable decisions. He got lucky with not enforcing the follow against Pak in the last game with the rain in the forecast. If weather had intervened, he might have regretted wasting 3 hours in batting for the runs they did not need. Now sending Pak to bat on a lifeless pitch after winning the toss was a little strange specially since they are already one up in the series. Setting a big total in the first innings would have put pressure on the brittle Pakistani batting lineup who would need to score fast in order to avoid a draw.

  • on July 1, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    hafeez has proven again his value for team. He had been unfortunate not able to score recently. Hafeez should aim for triple century. Pakistan will win it easily. Rehman and Ajmal I am sure are itching to show their skills.

  • Just_love_it on July 1, 2012, 4:02 GMT

    People always cry that test matches r dying !! Honestly this is exactly what making Test matches dull and boring.DRAW is written ALL OVER this test match.EVEN A MIRACLE CAN NOT PRODUCE A RESULT ON THIS TYPE PITCH !!! MY PREDICTION PAKISTAN MAKES 600+ SRILANKA REPLY WITH 500+ MATCH OVER !!

  • WickyRoy.paklover on July 1, 2012, 3:29 GMT

    @Natesan,wel if pak batsmen r given 7 to 8 chances in d field(just like sehwag had at multan),they can certainly do it.btw there r 2 triple centuries 4rm pak batsmen til now.I FEEL SORY 4 PAK BATSMEN,THEY HAVN'T BEEN ALOWD TO Play against india adequatly ovr d years,othrwise they would hav been averagng in high 40s,lolz

  • I_Love_Pakistan on July 1, 2012, 3:12 GMT

    Muhammad Hafeez performance is realy amazing, I don't know what happend with him in last seven innings...... He is crazy allrounder...

  • Sinhaya on July 1, 2012, 17:10 GMT

    @@sobersfan, if SL batting is amateurish then how did Thilan Samaraweera manage 2 consecutive test tons in South Africa? How did Sri Lanka get England all out twice in Galle in March if our bowling is worse than Bangladesh? If we are worse than Bangladesh why has ICC ranked us well ahead of them? Have a good answer to these questions. You should lie low after all your predictions backfired. Remember Sri Lanka are the last team to win an ODI in England which happened at Lords this time last year when Chandimal scored a ton. This proves our batting is great.

  • Sinhaya on July 1, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    @sobersfan, Sri Lanka are a very good side and that was why we won the first test. Even without DRS, our bowlers excelled. You are wrong as ODIs we won triumphantly. Sri Lankan batting is world class and we can beat any team always. You are talking nonsense. I can have a laughter holiday reading your comments. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene are great batsmen always.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on July 1, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Mahela was Over Confidence and asked PAK tp bat. Well done PAKs.

  • on July 1, 2012, 5:52 GMT

    Hafeez showed us the perfect example of not performing under captaincy. I hope Pakistan wins this we need to bowl good.

  • Nizam1949 on July 1, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    Cricket, after all, is indeed a funny game! One day you are done and out, and the next you turn out to be heroes, as Pakistan playing on this pitch in this Test has re-stated Cricket's truism with the willow that had been wilted in the not-too-distant past in Sri Lanka for them.

    Perhaps, the Gods of Cricket deserve the plaudits for this topsy-turvy marvel magic of Cricketing folk lore more than the mere mortals of the Pakistan team. Albeit, while the Cricketing God has been, and remains, both the playwright and director, the Pakistani players as actors on the stage do deserve accolades for playing their roles to the hilt and to tune.

    But, the play in the theater hasn't ended as yet, and the curtains haven't been drawn. Act 1 is in progress; wait till the play comes to an end.

  • Silly_Me_Don on July 1, 2012, 4:18 GMT

    Mahela is a great captain on the field, but lately has made some questionable decisions. He got lucky with not enforcing the follow against Pak in the last game with the rain in the forecast. If weather had intervened, he might have regretted wasting 3 hours in batting for the runs they did not need. Now sending Pak to bat on a lifeless pitch after winning the toss was a little strange specially since they are already one up in the series. Setting a big total in the first innings would have put pressure on the brittle Pakistani batting lineup who would need to score fast in order to avoid a draw.

  • on July 1, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    hafeez has proven again his value for team. He had been unfortunate not able to score recently. Hafeez should aim for triple century. Pakistan will win it easily. Rehman and Ajmal I am sure are itching to show their skills.

  • Just_love_it on July 1, 2012, 4:02 GMT

    People always cry that test matches r dying !! Honestly this is exactly what making Test matches dull and boring.DRAW is written ALL OVER this test match.EVEN A MIRACLE CAN NOT PRODUCE A RESULT ON THIS TYPE PITCH !!! MY PREDICTION PAKISTAN MAKES 600+ SRILANKA REPLY WITH 500+ MATCH OVER !!

  • WickyRoy.paklover on July 1, 2012, 3:29 GMT

    @Natesan,wel if pak batsmen r given 7 to 8 chances in d field(just like sehwag had at multan),they can certainly do it.btw there r 2 triple centuries 4rm pak batsmen til now.I FEEL SORY 4 PAK BATSMEN,THEY HAVN'T BEEN ALOWD TO Play against india adequatly ovr d years,othrwise they would hav been averagng in high 40s,lolz

  • I_Love_Pakistan on July 1, 2012, 3:12 GMT

    Muhammad Hafeez performance is realy amazing, I don't know what happend with him in last seven innings...... He is crazy allrounder...

  • maddy20 on July 1, 2012, 3:09 GMT

    I would not be surprised if this test ends in a dull boring draw. No way Pakistan could have batted so well otherwise!

  • AMAZINGFAN on July 1, 2012, 2:51 GMT

    sl bowlers are worse than bangladesh's they were lucky to win their last match but pak will beat sl this match for sure...

  • AMAZINGFAN on July 1, 2012, 2:48 GMT

    pak has top class bowling but their batsmen always failed to complement their bowlers.i'm glad that the batsmen hav put up a good show in the 1st innings,it's important to carry the good work.hope pakistan beat this amateur sl line up.c'mon pak.....

  • Syed_imran_abbas on July 1, 2012, 2:27 GMT

    Well no doubt that first test was won by umpires for srilanka.. pakistani batsman played bad but so did the srilankans... all the score by srilanka was by top order in first innings. I really appreciate pakistans efforts to loss with so low margin considering 10 decesions against them.

  • siri12345 on July 1, 2012, 2:23 GMT

    i think it will be very difficult for pakistan to force a result on this wicket inspite of a great start by their batsman.the fact that pakistan batsman got to a this type of start means i will be very very surprised if sl loose even their first wicket be4 surprassing pakistan 1st innings total.

  • WickyRoy.paklover on July 1, 2012, 1:52 GMT

    @Natesan,wel if pak batsmen r given 7 to 8 chances in d field(just like sehwag had at multan),they can certainly do it.btw there r 2 triple centuries 4rm pak batsmen til now.I FEEL SORY 4 PAK BATSMEN,THEY HAVN'T BEEN ALOWD TO Play against india adequatly ovr d years,othrwise they would hav been averagng in high 40s,lolz

  • Lakpj on July 1, 2012, 1:26 GMT

    Don't count the chicks before the eggs hatch. this is a damn flat track. impossible to get a side out twice. last time when India was here SL scored over 600 and declared,India ended up scoring over 700. Raina who could hardly lay bat on ball in test cricket scored a century there. SL cricket should do something to this pitch. it is nonsense to play on these type of useless wickets.

  • drdani on July 1, 2012, 0:56 GMT

    some of my brothers here r predicting that this game will end in a draw..well i dont agree with it..giving example of SL-IND match where IND piled up runs after SL did, u hav to keep in mind that it was a strong indian batting against not-so-strong SL bowling..here the scenario is different..SL batting is not that strong (except for mahela) n pak bowling is not only stronger but also looking for blood after the first match...so if pak manages to create a mountain of runs then i dont think SL batting will handle it properly...except for rain, this match seems to hav no enemy !!

  • on July 1, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    does anyone know the status of tanvir ahmed he did nothing wrong great test record yet was dropped for the inferior junaid

  • coolitbaby on June 30, 2012, 23:58 GMT

    @Natesan333 : What WickyRoy.paklover means by saying that pakistani batsmen score triple century is that the whole Pakistan team put together will score 300 runs in all innings of the test match series combined :-)

  • Natesan333 on June 30, 2012, 21:43 GMT

    @wickyroy.paklover triple centuries by a pak batsmen? I won't call that lucky, it would be a miracle!!!

  • just_chill_chill on June 30, 2012, 20:56 GMT

    @WickyRoy.paklover: Well Pakistani batsmen by fluke managed to score a few runs. I think within the next day or two they will be back to their normal self getting bowled out for ducks as usual.

  • on June 30, 2012, 19:55 GMT

    Truly another example of the most un predictable team. When everyone expected them to be under pressure and not to perform, they surprise us as they shine. Seems like they only mssed misbah in the last game and that was their only issue.. Wicket taking is a battle at this track, and lets see if the pak bowlers can stay up to their standard. Well done and excellent come-back PAK.

  • yorkslanka on June 30, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    Well batted to Pakistan,clearly your day...the gamble to try and play mind games on the pak batsmens poor last game did not come off t all for Mahela.misbah coming back seems to have gelled the team again. Come on Sri Lanka lets have a good response tomorrow..

  • Sinhaya on June 30, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    @WickyRoy.paklover, Pakistan batting excelled today. But please dont say umpiring helped us in the 1st test as even sans UDRS, Pakistani batting was poor in Galle meaning they would still have lost. Dont talk about umpiring cos Hafeez got a reprieve just before closing so well he can go for 300 or so now. Our test match bowling is a weak link yes and I am afraid selection blunders are the root cause. Thisara Perera may have been better today.

  • Waqasahmed92 on June 30, 2012, 18:26 GMT

    @Natesan333 absolutely spot on mate........I was so surprised myself, cricket is indeed a funny game..... :D PEACE

  • WickyRoy.paklover on June 30, 2012, 18:26 GMT

    @Nilankaraja,what about ist day of ist test,that was also flat,bt paki bowlrs bowld way betr than ur bowlrs,learn to credit othrs,@Natesan,obviously,paki batsmen can even scor triple centuries provided if they r lucky enuf to b playng against yadav,aaron,harbhajan,sharma n othr greats,lolz

  • Sinhaya on June 30, 2012, 18:08 GMT

    @S.Jagernath, forgot that Mahela has 2 test centuries at Lords? Forgot that Mahela has ODI centuries scored in Durham, Manchester and Headingley? Mahela can score well on spinning surfaces and that is why he excels even in Galle. Mahela also scored 274 in Ahmedabad. Mahela is a great batsman by all means.

  • Natesan333 on June 30, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    @Waqasahmed92 I know right, it looks like even a pakistani batsmen can score a ton here!!!

  • nilb on June 30, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    Calling this pitch a sleeping beauty is appropriate. Dead pitches ruin test matches ending them without results. I hope this one doesn't end up in a run feast and a draw in the end. This kind of surfaces should be banned.

  • yasser211 on June 30, 2012, 17:48 GMT

    Well Done Lankans!!!!!! Hafeez is 172*. Those are 172 daggers through my heart.

  • WickyRoy.paklover on June 30, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    If pak batsmen make a mockery of opponents,then it z a flat track bt if indian or lankan flat track bullies make tons,then they r great batsmen of all times,wow man!,what double standard fans have set 4 their teams n othr teams,wel i have been keep sayng it that ths lankan bowlng atack z way way behind to b cald "great atack",so their mediocrity have been wel exposd 2day,wel playd al 3 batsmen,i gues hafez must lok 4 his triple century 4rm now on,while azhar must score around 150 atleast,lankans must thank paki fieldrs 4 odis n umpires 4 ist test,@Bruisers,totaly agreed bt prblm z that ur great batsmen would b averagng in high 20's if thse pitchs r removd,lolz

  • on June 30, 2012, 17:33 GMT

    very well played that,s what pakistan need in the bating line to put a good total runs ,best of luck pakistan zinadabad

  • warneneverchuck on June 30, 2012, 17:12 GMT

    Waqas. We r happy with bowlers like Umesh yadav than having likes of amir and asif

  • on June 30, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    it was good batting and poor bowling... reasons of poor pitch is just rubbish,... cauz good teams find their way out... but the bitter truth is that pakistan batting was too good for srlanka .. just like srilanka s batting was for pakistan in 1st test.. and v didnt said that pitch was batting paradise... get a life u gizeeee!!

  • on June 30, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    Hafeez needs to show consistency in his performance.it is true he can,t face bowlers on bouncing pitches.

  • programmingdrone on June 30, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    Hard to believe M. Hafeez scored anything above 50. The Sri Lankans are taking it easy now after their first win.

  • 5wombats on June 30, 2012, 17:06 GMT

    We don't normally comment on the games of others - so no offence is intended to either of the worthy teams here, but wow! What a mistake to win the toss, put the other side in and watch them score 1/334! Reminded us so much of Hussains fatal mistake at the Gabba in 2002.

  • Waqasahmed92 on June 30, 2012, 17:00 GMT

    Wow what a pitch......I just gotta say, with tracks like these who needs indian bowlers :D LOLz

  • Rici737 on June 30, 2012, 16:58 GMT

    Hey guys except the God, nobody knows the result here. There is nothing to panic folk. I miss my hero Sanath Jayasuriya. We love Sri Lankan cricket. ** Kahakatchchi Patabandige Jayananda Warnaweera (born November 23, 1960, Matara, Sri Lanka) is a former Sri Lankan cricketer who played in 10 Tests and 6 ODIs from 1986 to 1994. Jayananda Warnaweera had his education at Mahinda College, Galle. He is the one and only curator who understands Sri Lankan cricket pitches. I would let him to organize all the cricket pitches for international cricket matches in Sri Lanka. Let Pakistanies to score 600 runs, I am sure Sri Lankans will score 800 runs. Good Luck Sri Lanka.

  • mudassar786 on June 30, 2012, 16:54 GMT

    In my opinion MJ was trying to be clever, his thinking was put Pakistan in to bat 1st an roll em over for under 250ish, then in their own innings dominate and get over 500 as they have a very good batting line up and they know the pitch better then anyone, plus their record is fantastic at this ground, but unfortunately for him it has backfired big time. Its obvious his decision is based on that well known fact that Pakistans batting is shocking at times, but MJ's biggest error today was forgetting that Pakistan has the best spin attack in the World by far and you do not want to face them batting last, now unless a miracle happens only Pakistan can win this test match. I just hope its not a bore draw. Plus am i the only person that thinks at the moment Ajmal is the best bowler in the World? He is easily the best spinner no doubt. Anyway my lecture is over lol Pakistan Zindabad!

  • on June 30, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    You take fairness out of any contest, it looses its appeal and diminishes competitiveness. Any match without UDRS will now always be viewed like that. It will take away certain character of the contest. If India is unwilling to come around, ICC should make it that is the prerogative of the visiting team to ask for UDRS. ICC is acting as if it is powerless in front of BCCI. I find ICC leadership as pathetic and incompetent.

  • cricpolitics on June 30, 2012, 16:27 GMT

    Sri Lankans wrongly underestimated Pakistanis in this match. They forgot that this is the same team that has won it's last five test series, and one of them was against Sri Lanka. Pakistan may not look strong in the fast bowling in the absence of Gul but don't overlook Ajmal and Rehman, they are the best spin bowling pair around today. If anything the Pakistan spin bowling could make a difference in this match though the chances are for a draw.

  • johnathonjosephs on June 30, 2012, 16:16 GMT

    Why would you bowl first after winning the toss on a flat pitch

  • on June 30, 2012, 16:14 GMT

    Hafeez technique is flawed, he will find it impossible to score runs on bouncy or seaming tracks on Eng, Aus, NZ and SA.His footwork is zero. But at least he showed patience.

  • SL-RokZ on June 30, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    who can blame Mahela for choosing to ball first...just take a look at the past records at this ground...high scoring draws all the way... mahela knows the batting would be very much easier on day 2 & 3, so he tried to see if SL bowlers can make something out of day 1, coz he knew its the only way to take a win this ground if SLs lucky enough... but as Mahela expected this pitch remains the same as it was in the past & would be the same, at least for this game... no one knows about this pitch would expect nothing but a draw... so just swallow it guys....

  • KingOwl on June 30, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    What a horrible pitch. This Autobahn of a pitch should not be used in the future. This is the only flat track in SL and it does not help our team's cause at all!

  • FredBoycott on June 30, 2012, 16:07 GMT

    Like batting on a rice pudding. #digin

  • on June 30, 2012, 16:02 GMT

    i am a Bangladeshi but i love PAK cricket, only want 2 say that Pak can comeback in the game strongly and thats very good, well done hafiz, ali, misbah, adnan and all

  • on June 30, 2012, 15:40 GMT

    Pak should just declare tomorrow at lunch, score of 450 will be good, let SL bat and see if they can bowl them out for 250... ;)

  • Sinhaya on June 30, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    @3liteindia, I agree SSC is the only useless pitch in Sri Lanka and hope ICC sanctions or warns dire consequences unless SSC pitch is made to look like Galle. If you look at the last 3 tests played in Sri Lanka starting from the 2 tests against England, results were produced as those 3 games were not at SSC. Pallekelle is a green top as you saw in the ODIs. This test match will kill test cricket.

  • Desihungama on June 30, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    O Common Sidhart! They could have easily strapped their pads on and added to their already impressive records on the SSC sleeping beauty? I mean how do you know Pakistan bowlers would have also failed to attract juice from the pitch? Everyone knows Pak has superior bowling and I am certain Sri Lanka would not have been 334/1 if they were batting.

  • Sinhaya on June 30, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    I cant understand what went wrong for Mahela today. It is only SSC which is a dead flat pitch in Sri Lanka. Galle, Pallekelle, P Sara are pure result oriented pitches.

  • Syed_imran_abbas on June 30, 2012, 15:33 GMT

    Difference was umpiring.. trust me pakistan could have won first test if umpiring wasnt that rubbish.. Hafeez played well along with Azhar Ali but real jaibreaker was Taufeeq umer.

  • MasudRUETeee091040 on June 30, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    Well batting pitch.There was nothing to do for the bowlers.Hope Azhar Ai will do century and Hafeez will reach 200.

  • Legaleagle on June 30, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    Amazing batting by the Pakistan top order. Way to come back guys!!

  • on June 30, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    Pakistan will score 550 and declare then sri lanka will be all out for 450+ or more ( im not sure) then pakistan will bat again and declare at 150 ..then it will be a draw ..Whazammm!

  • on June 30, 2012, 15:25 GMT

    lol i dont know what to do to be happy or sad. dis iz only once or twice in a year performance by hafeez o.O well good luck team green hope so match will not drawn we want result :|

  • TheRedox on June 30, 2012, 15:19 GMT

    As a Sri Lankan i don't see huge blunders in umpiring.Just one decision went wrong and it's fair umpires make wrong decisions once in a while.Credit goes to Hafees for his batting.But i don't think they can expect a result by batting so slow on a flat track.And don't think Gull less Pakisthan attack can bowl out SL batting order twice for cheaply.So until another Pakisthan collapse due tommarow morning,a draw is sure.

  • on June 30, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    Well done unpredictible Pakistan top order. Carry on this to force a win here.

  • on June 30, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    Mahela is great by any standard and in the pantheon of Sri Lanka's cricketing gods. The elegance of his batting is a reason the sport is enjoyable. He should continue as captain because there is no better for now.

    However some of Mahela's recent judgments are inexplicable. The decision in the first test not to enforce the follow on with a lead of 372 and possibility of rain looming made no sense. This did not become an issue because rains did not come and Pakistan managed only 300 batting on day 4. Had it rained and Sri Lanka just missed bowling out Pakistan, fingers would have been pointed at Mahela.

    His decision to field today after winning the toss is also inexplicable. Justification of exploiting pitch moisture in the first session is naive. Sri Lankans know the SSC pitch best; so they knew, all things considered, this was a dubious advantage. The curator said today that the pitch had dried up before the game started. Did Mahela not know this vital information?

  • on June 30, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    Once in a while Pakistan comes back to life. This team is so unpredictable.

  • Bruisers on June 30, 2012, 15:15 GMT

    Talk about dead flat pitches.. Even Hafeez could score a century and half. How pathetic the pitch must have been. Not to forget the poor bowling attack. None of the frontline bowlers picked up a single wicket. Ban this pitch for good.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 30, 2012, 15:12 GMT

    Sooooo, the tables have turned Mr Bond! Seems batting first in this series will be the big deciding factor...

  • Fezz on June 30, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    Well said Usman Ghani ! Only one wrong decision (and even that is not conclusive) and it gets mentioned here. After numerous howlers against Pakistan in the first match, this counts for nothing. About this match, Pakistan bowlers especially the two quicks have to bowl with a big heat. I also thought Sami should have been picked because of his extra pace.

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on June 30, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    Very impressed and inspired by hafeez. He is going to retire as a legend of pakistan cricket.

  • on June 30, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    great work so far need to carry on

  • S.Jagernath on June 30, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    How is this venue still used for test cricket?It produces a ridiculous amount of centuries.Mahela Jayawardene has 10 free centuries at this ground.I am very glad Pakistan are batting properly & cashing in on this surface.

  • Sageleaf on June 30, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    Are you kidding me? SL winning the toss let Pakistan bat first? One of the most hideous decisions ever made by skipper Mahela. I'm so surprised. Mahela knows the SSC pitch so well and still allows Pakistan to bat? Gosh man now live with it. Let see how Sri Lankan players are going to perform when they come out to bat.

  • hani2 on June 30, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    so pakistan can atlest bat on flat pitch

  • on June 30, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    nice batting but real hero was taufeeq he attacked lankan bowlers and put them under real pressure go pak and level the series

  • on June 30, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    Game on people! ! Hopefully bowling should click as well to tie the series

  • on June 30, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    Such types of pitches is not suitable for test cricket..... bcoz we viewers dont want draw.... such types of pitches should be prepare for oneday and t20, any how pakistan can win this match... if bowlers strike early....

  • on June 30, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    Lukily for Pakistan that Mahela choose to field first. Thanks to flat wicket that Pakistani batsmen took the Srilankan bowlers to task. This is the golden opportunity for Hafiz and company to enlist their names in record book. Pakistan should think of putting around 700 runs on this wicket to put pressure on Srilanka and if they want to square the series they have to bowl and field extremely well.Wish you guys all the luck in the world.

  • on June 30, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    Woow What a wonderful decision to ball first by Mahela,,Now let`s see even next test match to gain Series.I can`t understand about bowling first after winning good Toss,Sometimes Series may go away from SL due to these bad desicions..

  • InsideHedge on June 30, 2012, 14:22 GMT

    If a man who couldn't get past 37 on this tour prior to this innings almost scores a double ton in a day, it tells you something about this track. They should stop playing matches at the SSC, the venue has produced the most number of dull draws in the history of cricket, has there ever been a result at this venue? Who knows, Hafeez might start dreaming of passing Lara's 400 during the night. It could become reality during the day. And then one of the Sri Lankans will beat it before the match is over. You read it here FIRST!

  • Sports4Youth on June 30, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    Fianally Hafeez has shown back his form. When he is going good he is a treat to watch. I hope his form continues. Taufeeq Umar was great in the morning session.

  • on June 30, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    ANSWER TO THE PEOPLE WHO BLAME PAK BATTING....SIMPLE IF THE UMPIRING WAS GOOD IN THE LAST TEST RESULT WILL BE DIFFERENT....

  • Sports4Youth on June 30, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    Wow that was a great comeback by the Pakistani batters. I hope this game does not go the way indian match in 2010 did, where both teams scored heaviliy and match was drawn. Also i am happy that Umar Gul has been dropped in this match (I dont believe the injury story).

  • myaqoob on June 30, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    Imran Nazir Imran Farhat Mohd Hafeez Abdul Razack Shahid Afridi Umer Akmal Azher Ali Asad Shafiq Umer Gul Wahab Raiz Mohd Sami

  • on June 30, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    Surprisingly rashid latif tweeted a couple of days ago that Pakistan is going to win , now what to make of that!!!

  • wiseshah on June 30, 2012, 13:58 GMT

    mahela made a stupid decision and srilanka is suffering and paying for his mistakes. why bowling in this pitch?

  • Zahidsaltin on June 30, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    I don't see anything wrong with Simon Taufels decision. Even the magnifying glass and slow moving technology had no clear answer to the decision. SSC is a graveyard of bowlers and match most probably will be a draw. Well played Hafiz, Taufeeq and Azhar.

  • on June 30, 2012, 13:49 GMT

    Hahahahahahaha quite surprising to see comments regarding poor umpiring....There was only wrong decision given by taufel and that too later in the day...If one decision can instigate moaning then Pakistani team should have shot down umpires in the first test...Overall a good batting display...Need to score runs quickly and take early wickets tomorrow otherwise we are looking for a dull draw..Good job azhar and hafeez!!

  • praveen4honestremark on June 30, 2012, 13:43 GMT

    @Everyone...I have a doubt friends, any one clarify me please. Is this the same Randiv playing for Srilanka in this test matches who has deliberately bowled a no-ball to avoid Sehwag's century and later apologized ?? Sri Lanka v India, 3rd ODI, Dambulla on 16th Aug 2010 ( http://www.espncricinfo.com/sl-tri2010/content/story/472780.html).

  • on June 30, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    ROcK onN teaM greEn .... gaMe oN haI

  • Stark62 on June 30, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    All the credit must go to Mahela for electing to field first!! LOL

    Anyway, Hafeez made a good century but I still don't think he is good enough to be an opener and especially not in Tests. Also, I think the captaincy is burden on him and becomes a liability for the team because he can't handle the pressure.

  • playitstraight on June 30, 2012, 13:32 GMT

    Wow...... what a pitch. And what a decision by Mahela, to bowl first. After having played at the SSC over a hundred times and knowing the fact that batting first is the best, he decided to bowl. Sri Lanka need to change these flat, placid and benign tracks where there's absolutely nothing for the bowlers. It's been the same for the last 15 or so years. If Sri Lanka lose this Test, then Mahela will be to blame for his decision.

  • on June 30, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    Different was Simon Taufel.

  • Balumekka on June 30, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    Great show by the Pakistan! You got to feel for Mahela and co., as nothing seem to be working for them. Nobody can understand why Mahela chose to bowl first after winning the toss!!!

  • on June 30, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    Mohammad Hafeez is a magic man. Always surprise us!

  • Resultpredictor on June 30, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    Good batting by Pakistan on flat surface, expecting more runs tomorrow and test will end in high scoring draw...

  • suve on June 30, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    I think most people will argue that Mahela made a poor call, bowling first. But there was something for the bowlers in the first 15 overs of the innings but the SL bowlers didn't make good use of it at all. Dilhara or Thisara would of done better than Pradeep. and the Pakistani Batsmen batted well throughout that period. This is a copy of the 1st day of the 1st test but Pakistan are batting this time around, and there was some luck for Pakistan with Noballs, drop catches and some poor umpiring again. But credit to Hafeez and Azar too. I see this match as a draw because day 2 and day 3 will be even better for the batting and there is some rain forcasted as well.

  • prasanna23 on June 30, 2012, 12:55 GMT

    i always rated hafeez very high. he didnt let me down today. great job done hafeez. keep it up.

  • gunnerr4life on June 30, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    This looks like a draw ... Pakistan will desperately miss mohammad Sami on this wicket ... Poor decision to play junaid instead of Sami ..

  • romirom on June 30, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    well played pakistan. but this game as far i know gona be draw. if pakistan wants to win this match then have to score quickly. may be 600 runs with tomorrow 2 session. and sud dec and let give srilanka the evening session to bat. pick some quick wickets.... then only there would be chance of wining for pakistan.

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  • romirom on June 30, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    well played pakistan. but this game as far i know gona be draw. if pakistan wants to win this match then have to score quickly. may be 600 runs with tomorrow 2 session. and sud dec and let give srilanka the evening session to bat. pick some quick wickets.... then only there would be chance of wining for pakistan.

  • gunnerr4life on June 30, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    This looks like a draw ... Pakistan will desperately miss mohammad Sami on this wicket ... Poor decision to play junaid instead of Sami ..

  • prasanna23 on June 30, 2012, 12:55 GMT

    i always rated hafeez very high. he didnt let me down today. great job done hafeez. keep it up.

  • suve on June 30, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    I think most people will argue that Mahela made a poor call, bowling first. But there was something for the bowlers in the first 15 overs of the innings but the SL bowlers didn't make good use of it at all. Dilhara or Thisara would of done better than Pradeep. and the Pakistani Batsmen batted well throughout that period. This is a copy of the 1st day of the 1st test but Pakistan are batting this time around, and there was some luck for Pakistan with Noballs, drop catches and some poor umpiring again. But credit to Hafeez and Azar too. I see this match as a draw because day 2 and day 3 will be even better for the batting and there is some rain forcasted as well.

  • Resultpredictor on June 30, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    Good batting by Pakistan on flat surface, expecting more runs tomorrow and test will end in high scoring draw...

  • on June 30, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    Mohammad Hafeez is a magic man. Always surprise us!

  • Balumekka on June 30, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    Great show by the Pakistan! You got to feel for Mahela and co., as nothing seem to be working for them. Nobody can understand why Mahela chose to bowl first after winning the toss!!!

  • on June 30, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    Different was Simon Taufel.

  • playitstraight on June 30, 2012, 13:32 GMT

    Wow...... what a pitch. And what a decision by Mahela, to bowl first. After having played at the SSC over a hundred times and knowing the fact that batting first is the best, he decided to bowl. Sri Lanka need to change these flat, placid and benign tracks where there's absolutely nothing for the bowlers. It's been the same for the last 15 or so years. If Sri Lanka lose this Test, then Mahela will be to blame for his decision.

  • Stark62 on June 30, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    All the credit must go to Mahela for electing to field first!! LOL

    Anyway, Hafeez made a good century but I still don't think he is good enough to be an opener and especially not in Tests. Also, I think the captaincy is burden on him and becomes a liability for the team because he can't handle the pressure.