Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Razzaq rips through Sri Lanka

Close Sri Lanka 208 (Kaluwitharana 54, Atapattu 44, Razzaq 5-35) v Pakistan

Even without Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami, Pakistan had Sri Lanka in trouble for most of the day. There was a distinct lack of application among the batsmen, whose decision to get on top of the disciplined bowling backfired. It was not the approach recommended on a pitch where the ball swung late and spinners found favour. Each passing dismissal showed that. But only Marvan Atapattu (44) and Romesh Kaluwitharana (54) showed the necessary grit to score runs, and riding on the back of their innings, Sri Lanka rode to a bumpy 208.

At one stage, Sri Lanka were 164 for 8, before Kaluwitharana and Rangana Herath cut out the flash and stuck to basics. Before them, the only notable partnership was for the first wicket, where Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya put on 66 runs. In between, eight wickets fell for 98 runs, when Sri Lanka's overconfidence, stemming from their showing from the last game, got the better of them. The new bowlers, inexperienced as they were, bowled a disciplined line and let the green pitch do the rest. Naved-ul-Hasan and Riaz Afridi had not played a game between them, but handled the pressure of bowling to the strokemakers with enviable ease. The pressure they created took hold of Jayasuriya, who was tempted by a slow, loopy offering in Danish Kaneria's first over which he missed completely, and it hit his pads instead (66 for 1).

It was but one example of the injudicious strokeplay on offer throughout the innings. Kaneria had two more victims, and though Abdul Razzaq ran through the middle order and tail for 5 for 35, it was he who cracked the shell to expose the soft center. Razzaq's mantra was in line with Pakistan's for the day. He landed it on off, and some batsmen, eager to drive, edged the moving delivery to gully and slip. Others, like Thilan Samaraweera, edged it out of uncertainty.

Sri Lanka's situation deteriorated rapidly after lunch. From 80 for 2, they fell to 106 for 4, as Kumar Sangakkara hooked one the climbed on him, and he top-edged it to Kaneria at fine leg, and shortly after, Mahela Jayawardene edged a drive to slip. Jehan Mubarak fell the same way, but off Razzaq.

There was not much hope for Sri Lanka now, but a nervous Kaluwitharana, never looking settled at any time during his stay, along with Herath, stitched up a partnership worth 44 runs. At times it seemed like they were only one ball away from a dismissal, and the fielders were on their toes throughout, but in between the swishes, there was the odd boundary, and Kaluwitharana even managed to lift Kaneria for a six. When he fell, to the same bowler, Sri Lanka folded up immediately.