Sri Lanka A v Pakistan A, 2nd Test, Dambulla April 11, 2005

Wickets tumble as early finish beckons

Sri Lanka A 225 (Mohammad Asif 5-46) and 16 for 3 lead Pakistan A 234 (Suraj 6-73) by seven runs

Sri Lanka A's offspinner, Suraj Mohamed, and the Pakistan A paceman, Mohammad Asif, both excelled with the ball as the second unofficial Test at the Rangiri Dambulla Stadium headed for an exciting - and early - finish.

Asif narrowly missed out on a hat-trick as he took 5 for 46 to dismiss Sri Lanka A for 225 in their first innings, and when Pakistan A began their reply it was Suraj who got into the act, capturing 6 for 73 to restrict them to a total of 234, and a slender lead of nine runs. However Pakistan A struck back hard through Najaf Shah, reducing Sri Lanka A to 16 for 3 by the close of the second day.

Sri Lanka had resumed on 175 for 6, and added 50 runs for their last four wickets, 42 of them coming in a last-wicket stand between Mohamed and Dilhara Fernando. Mohamed, who survived Asif's hat-trick ball when Faisal Iqbal failed to hold onto an edge at third slip, was last out for 30 leaving Fernando unbeaten on 11.

The same combination then reduced Pakistan A to 51 for 4 before Bazid Khan and Faisal Iqbal got together in another century partnership. The pair added 121 runs in 109 minutes for the fifth wicket before Mohamed got rid of Bazid for 84 and then ran through the rest of the batting. Bazid, who scored a splendid century at Asgiriya, batted for 217 minutes and hit 11 fours. After his dismissal Faisal left soon afterwards for 66 and though Zulqarnain made some lusty hits with 32 off 52 balls (4 fours), Mohamed chipped away towards the tail from the other end.

In fading light Sri Lanka A had some anxious moments to survive and failed, losing three of their top batsmen for just 16 to revive Pakistan's hopes of victory.

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