x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Bowlers guide Sri Lanka to victory

Sri Lanka produced a stunning 50-run win inside four days over Pakistan in the first Test at Galle to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.

Sri Lankan cricketers celebrate the dismissal of Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq as they win the first Test of a three-match series.
Sri Lankan cricketers celebrate the dismissal of Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq as they win the first Test of a three-match series.

Sri Lanka produced a stunning 50-run win inside four days over Pakistan in the first Test at Galle to go 1-0 up in the three-match series. Pakistan had started the fourth day needing only 97 to overhaul Sri Lanka's target of 168 and with eight wickets in hand, but were undone by superb spells from left-arm paceman Thilan Thushara and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath. The two produced an astonishing turnaround with two wickets apiece in quick succession which left Pakistan ? 71 for two overnight ? reeling at 80 for six within the first seven overs of the day. Ajantha Mendis then chipped away with two tail-end wickets, while Herath added two more victims to his kitty to finish with figures of four for 15 from 11.3 overs as Pakistan were bowled out for 117 just before the lunch interval. Thushara had begun proceedings with an impeccable first over, while laid bare Pakistan's middle-order with two wickets in the first over from the other end. Mohammad Yousuf, who had scored a century ensuring a 50-run lead for Pakistan in the first innings, was removed off the first ball from Herath, trapped in front while playing down the wrong line. Yousuf departed without further addition to his overnight score of 12 and Pakistan slipped further when the other overnight batsman, Salman Butt, succumbed two deliveries later. Butt, who had batted flawlessly for his 28 overnight, produced an ill-timed and badly-executed slog sweep which went straight to Tharanga Paranavitana at deep square leg. Thushara then swung into the act, removing Shoaib Malik for a duck. The left-arm paceman flicked Malik's edge with the first delivery of his second over, but the ball dropped just short of first slip. But Thushara's pace and angle of attack soon induced another edge which the wicketkeeper Tillakaratne Dilshan gloved neatly. Thushara continued to torment and had Kamran Akmal playing and missing on several occasions. The wicketkeeper-batsman was struck on the glove by one which swerved in sharply as he attempted to defend and his innings ended when he was rapped on the back leg right in front by a similar delivery shortly later. The prospect of a Pakistan win had quickly faded as they slipped from their overnight 71 for two to a miserable 80 for six. Faint hope still rested on Misbah-ul Haq, but Pakistan's vice-captain too was quickly back in the pavilion, brilliantly run out by Dilshan. Misbah had walked out to meet a delivery from Thurshara but was struck on the pad. Dilshan quickly swooped on the ball which had rolled down the leg side and broke the stumps with a direct throw, catching Misbah just short of the crease. Mendis then claimed two victims and Herath returned for another good spell as Pakistan were bowled out. The second Test begins in Colombo on Saturday.

*PA Sport