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Islamabad, Feb 23: Sri Lanka's experienced duo of Arjuna Ranatunga (86) and Aravinda de Silva (74) struck form ahead of the three-Test series against Pakistan as the tourists three-day match against Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) XI ended in a draw at the KRL ground on Wednesday.
The two shared an unbroken 137-run fifth wicket partnership as the visitors reached 253 for four when the match ended. Earlier, the home team, resuming at 191 for three, were dismissed for 290.
Ranatunga struck 15 boundaries and a six in his 114-ball knock while de Silva's 173-ball innings spiced 13 hits to the fence.
The two batsmen fully capitalized from some friendly bowling by the PCB XI which was led by Mohammad Akram after Rashid Latif didn't take the field after the end of the home team's first innings.
Sri Lanka made a sloppy start of their second innings losing the wickets of skipper Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillekeratne Dilshan and Russel Arnold with the scoreboard reading 84. They plunged into further trouble when Mahela Jayawardena returned to the dressing room to leave the tourists at 116 for four.
However, Ranatunga and de Silva held the innings together and in the process exhibited some exquisite shots in either side of the wickets. Ranatunga, back in the team after being dropped from the tour of Zimbabwe, was in a punishing mood.
De Silva was cool and calculated but didn't lose any opportunity to score boundaries off lose deliveries. Jayasuriya, who scored 26 off 39 balls with six boundaries, was dismissed while attempting to hit part-time off-spinner Taufeeq Umer but ended up being caught in the first slip by Wajahatullah Wasti. On the following delivery, Dilshan also tried to force over mid-on holed out to Shafiq Ahmed.
Leg-spinner Shafiq claimed the wickets of opener Russel Arnold (39) and Mahela Jayawardene (16). Earlier, the Sri Lankan pacers Ravindra Pushpakumara and Nuwan Zoysa wrapped up PCB XI's first innings at 290.
The innings was dominated by a breezy 47-ball 56 by skipper Rashid Latif after the middle-order, dominated by Test team candidates, surrendered without offering any significant resistance. He struck eight boundaries.
Rashid was well supported by Shafiq Ahmad with whom he added 68 runs for the seventh wicket in 56 minutes. Shafiq's contribution was just 10. In the morning, the PCB XI lost three wickets in the space of 14 runs. Overnight batsman Younis Khan, tipped to earn cap in the Rawalpindi Test, got out in the first over in a bizzare fashion. Younis misjudged the bounce of a short pitched delivery when he tried to duck under it but the ball dislodging the bails.
Faisal Iqbal (9 off 22 balls) and Taufeeq Umer (1) were dismissed cheaply. Ravindra Pushpakumara, who was Sri Lanka's most successful bowler in the domestic competition, finished with four for 83 runs. Nuwan Zoysa ended up with three for 53.
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Ranatunga, de Silva strike form ahead of Test series
Islamabad, Feb 23: Sri Lanka's experienced duo of Arjuna Ranatunga (86) and Aravinda de Silva (74) struck form ahead of the three-Test series against Pakistan as the tourists three-day match against Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) XI ended in a draw at
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