COLOMBO (APP) – Offspinner Tharindu Kaushal and pacer Dhammika Prasad carved out Pakistan’s batting order, bowling the visitors out for 138 on the first day of the second Test at P Sara Oval.
Pakistan had gone into lunch at a promising 70 for 2, with Mohammad Hafeez and Younis Khan at the crease but an implosion in the second session – which was extended past the regular tea break after a 55-minute rain interruption – saw Pakistan lose eight wickets for 68.
All this was done without an over from Rangana Herath, who had tormented Pakistan last year.
A disciplined effort from Sri Lanka’s bowlers, particularly Dhammika Prasad and debutant Dushmantha Chameera, kept Pakistan to 70 for 2 on the first morning of the second Test at P Sara Oval. They had come close to picking up more than two wickets, but a partnership of 46 runs for the second wicket between Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali helped Pakistan regain some stability after an early strike.
After losing the toss, Angelo Mathews had said that he wanted his bowlers to take advantage of helpful conditions on a track with a greenish tinge.
In that context, his decision to open the bowling alongside Prasad, instead of Chameera, was a surprising one.
He struggled to get his line right in his first two overs. The first breakthrough came from Prasad, who produced a delivery that kicked off the pitch and took Ahmed Shehzad’s outside edge.
Chameera, picked in place of Nuwan Pradeep, was introduced in the sixth over and immediately impressed with the ease at which he kept up at around the 145kph mark, even touching 149kph.
There was swing on offer, too, and his pace and accuracy discomfited Azhar and Hafeez, who found themselves squared up and often late on defensive and pull shots. Also impressive was the accuracy of Chameera’s swinging yorkers.
The first convincing shot from the Pakistan pair against Chameera came in his fifth over, when Azhar carved a fuller delivery through cover and Hafeez followed it up with a crisp straight drive that brought up the side’s 50.
Just as the pair had seen off the toughest period of play, Prasad returned in the 16th over and got a wicket off his first ball. Azhar was squared up but the umpires turned down the appeal for caught-behind. Umpire Paul Rieffel, however, overturned the on-field umpire’s decision based on the sounds, with two noises suggesting the ball may have taken an edge off the bat before it flicked the thigh pad.
Six players have been dismissed for ducks in their 100th Test and Younis Khan came close to that joining that list in the next over off Mathews.
The Sri Lanka captain got a full delivery to swing in towards Younis, striking the batsman on the knee roll. Sri Lanka reviewed the not-out decision and while there was no inside edge, the tracker showed the ball would go on to clip the top of the stumps, making the decision the on-field umpire’s call.
In Mathews’ next over, an inside edge saved Younis who tried to jump across the crease. The batsman took 20 balls to get off the mark in a nervous stay, taking Pakistan through to lunch in the company of Hafeez, who was unbeaten on 31.