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Sat Apr 19 06:49:55 SAST 2014

Sri Lanka take series lead with record win

TEAMtalk Media | 25 June, 2012 14:360 Comments
Sri Lanka's Nuwan Kulasekara celebrates taking the wicket of Pakistan's Younis Khan during the fourth day of their first test in Galle June 25, 2012
Image by: Dinuka Liyanawatte / REUTERS

Sri Lanka needed an extra half hour on day four to wrap up the first Test in Galle, after stubborn resistance by Pakistan, but the home side won the game by 209 runs - their highest ever victory by runs against the visitors.

Half-centuries by Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq were not enough to save Pakistan as they were all out for 300 on Monday. Adnan Akmal was still at the crease on 40 not out, bravely trying to prevent the inevitable, as Pakistan lost seven wickets on the day.

The winning margin beat the one attained in Faisalabad in 2004, when Sri Lanka won by 201 runs. But it looked as though it would have been a much bigger thrashing at one stage, especially after Pakistan's first innings saw then all out for 100, still 372 runs behind Sri Lanka.

Mahela Jayawardene's decision not to enforce the follow-on almost looked like folly on day four, as his bowlers failed to wrap Pakistan up as expected. After making 137 for five before declaring on day three, setting a target of 510 to win, it seemed certain that this game would be done by lunch.

Pakistan started the day on 36 for three, seemingly on the brink of a massive defeat. They lost night watchman Saeed Ajmal early when he was needlessly run out, and it looked for all the world like matters would be wrapped up quickly. But Pakistan were not going down without a fight.

Khan, who had been at the crease overnight, was fighting to keep his place in the side and needed a strong innings, especially after failing in his first knock. He and new partner Shafiq started slowly, grinding out the singles and the odd two, as they got their eyes in.

Soon they were seeing the ball like balloons, and while the runs didn't exactly flow, they didn't look like getting out either. They went into the lunch break a further 72 runs to the good, on 108 for four, with both batsmen well set.

Sri Lanka would have been ruing an earlier decision, when Younis was seemingly caught by Tillakaratne Dilshan, but the third umpire reviewed it and said the ball may have touched the ground. It seemed like he had his fingers under it, though, and the Lankans were less than impressed.

The afternoon session saw Younis and Shafiq consolidate their partnership, scoring 151 together before Shafiq went out against the run of play for 80. He edged Rangana Herath to Prasanna Jayawardene behind the stumps, but the ball rebounded off the wicketkeeper's glove and skipper Mahela made the eventual catch.

Younis didn't last much longer after tea, as is often the case when one partner falls, and he had to go on 87. He got a faint edge on a Nuwan Kulasekara delivery and Prasanna had no problems, though Younis was rather slow to leave the field in protest.

Mohammad Ayub and Abdur Rehman fell fairly cheaply while batting alongside Akmal, who tried his best to keep the innings going. Umar Gul didn't last long after getting an inside onto his thigh pad and being caught.

By this stage they were already into the extra half hour, but Akmal was having none of it and continued to battle. His resistance was finally brought to an end, with minutes to go in the extra time slot, when Junaid Khan was caught off Randiv for eight.

They now move to Colombo, where the second Test starts on Friday. Both sides will be hoping the lack of DRS isn't as obvious or impactful in that game as it was in Galle, while the umpires will be looking back on their performance with a probable shake of the head.

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Sri Lanka take series lead with record win

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