Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam has expressed unhappiness over two ball changes by Sri Lanka during the first day of the third Test. The second replacement helped the hosts as the Pakistan batting collapsed at the SSC.
Having been put in, Pakistan were cruising at 285 for 4 on a slowish track when Sri Lanka, who had till then made no impact with the second new ball, called for a replacement ball as it had gone out of shape after 3.4 overs. The replacement ball swung alarmingly and Pakistan lost three wickets for two runs in eight balls to end the day at 289 for 7.
"If you analyse the first two Test matches and this one, everytime the ball was changed it has worked," Alam said. "Today they changed it twice and I don't want to say anything about it, but it's just one of those things. The first ball they changed didn't do anything and they certainly got the right ball and it did the trick. It's part and parcel of the game.
"I would have been much happier if we were 280 for 4. [Shoaib] Malik and Misbah [ul-Haq] were playing very well and had everything under their control. Cricket is full of surprises and full of uncertainties. Everyday you see something different and something new you still keep on learning."
Alam said that had Pakistan won the toss they would have batted first as well. "No doubt about that," Alam said. "We've selected two spinners in the side and when you do that you don't want to bowl first. Sri Lanka won the toss and put us in and they have a different idea of the wicket. We scored almost a hundred runs in each of the three sessions but we've lost about three wickets more which we shouldn't have.
"We need another 100 runs and if we have something like 400 or something near to that we will have a good game on our hands. This wicket will turn for [Danish] Kaneria. Especially in the first half, some of the deliveries the left-armer [Rangana Herath] bowled turned a little bit and bounced as well. The wicket looks very dry and bowling last will help."
Opener Khurram Manzoor, who missed out on a maiden Test hundred by seven runs, said he was upset at playing the wrong shot. "I did my best, but I'm disappointed in a way that this would have been my first Test hundred," Manzoor said. "My job was to stay at the wicket and see the shine off the ball. I am also disappointed the way [Mohammad] Yousuf got out. It was uncalled for."
Manzoor and Yousuf put on 167 for the third wicket before Manzoor was caught behind off Chaminda Vaas and seven runs later Yousuf was run out attempting a second run on an overthrow.
"This is the first time I've played with Yousuf he encouraged and supported me talking between overs," Manzoor said. "I enjoyed batting with him. As a senior player he did a good job to ensure that I was comfortable in the middle."