he Pakistanis only managed to delay the inevitable and hung on grimly batting all day and in the extra half hour conceded victory to Sri Lanka by 209 runs on the fourth day of the first of three Tests at the Galle International Stadium, here today. Set 510 for victory, Pakistan were all out for 300 with a day to spare. The Pakistanis cut a very sorry figure in this Test and it is hoped that they will regroup and be better opponents in the next two Tests at the SSC and the Pallekelle Stadium.
After tea Pakistan lost the wickets of Khan 87, Ayub 22, Rehman 14, Gul 4 and Junaid 8. Of the Sri Lankan bowlers Nuwan Kulesekera had 3 for 48, Rangana Herath 2 for 91 and Suraj Randiv 3 for 86.
Kumar Sangakkara was the Player of the match for his 199.
Disaster struck Pakistan when Younus Khan’s long vigil ended 5th ball with the new ball after tea when Kulesekera moved one to take the edge of the batsman’s bat for wicket keeper Jayawardena to gobble the catch. Khan in scoring his 26st 50 and going on to make 87, batted for 266 minutes, hitting 7 fours and facing 213 balls. It was a patient and well made knock which should give him the confidence to score more runs in the next two Tests.
With victory possible only if a cricketing miracle was to take place, what was expected of the remaining Pakistan batsmen was to bat as long as possible and make the Lankans sweat for victory.
Accepted that some of the umpiring decisions went against them, but they can’t hold them up as excuses for their defeat. Even the Sri Lankans were at the receiving end of umpiring errors.
Skipper Mahela Jayawardena, a clever thinker and great reader of situations, gave his bowlers – Kulesekera, Herath and Pradeep attacking fields and was always looking for wickets to end the visitors agony and give his side victory.
He gave his main bowler Rangana Herath a slip, a gully and a silly mid off and gave first innings most wicket taker off spinner Suraj Randiv a slip, leg slip and a silly point. It was good aggressive captaincy.
Generally a fourth day wicket is expected to offer vicious spin and bounce to the spinners. But the wicket behaved well and the batsmen had no difficulty in playing the spin of Herath and Randiv.
There was a bit of anxiety when Khan lofted Herath to Tillekeratne Dilshan at mid off. The fielder dived forward and convinced that he took the catch threw it up in celebration.
The umpire went upstairs and the third umpire after watching several of the replays ruled in favour of the batsman and Khan survived.
Asad Shafiq joined Khan and together they took Pakistan to lunch at 108 with Khan on 34 and Shafiq on 36.They held the fort for 116 minutes putting on 70 runs in 20.4 overs.
They batted with great determination and discipline, not talking any risks but playing the bowling on its merits. Khan and Shafiq were very watchful against the spinners.
Randiv would have had Shafiq when the batsman stepped out to loft him to mid wicket. He was not up to the pitch of the ball and his powerful hit went to Kumar Sangakkara at short mid wicket and he grassed a difficult chance. Shafiq was on 33 and the score 105. The partnership continued to flourish and it was frustrating to the Lankan bowlers who were trying everything varying their deliveries, but to avail. What blunted the spinners was that unlike in the first innings, Khan and Shafiq were using their feet, which is the best way to play spin.
But with about 20 minutes to tea, success came Lanka’s way when Herath obtained turn to get a nick off the bat off Shafiq for Jayawardena to grab a low good catch at first slip.
Shafiq made a solid 80 with 13 fours, batting for 213 minutes and his 5th wicket stand with Khan realized 151 runs. They showed fight in that stand that went to delay the final outcome of a victory for the home team.
Khan and Mohamed Ayub took their team to tea without further loss at 205 for 5 with Khan on 81 and Ayub on 5.
Khan has faced 206 balls with 6 fours in 255 minutes. Resuming on 36 for3, still requiring 474 to win or survive for six sessions to save the Test, disaster struck when Saeed Ajmal was run out for 12, second ball of the second over bowled by Nuwan Kuleskera. 38 for 4.
Younus Khan pushed a ball to cover and took a couple of strides as if to run, Ajmal responded and in being sent back failed to beat Suraj Randiv’s direct hit from cover. It was poor thinking by Khan as quick and risky runs were not needed.
Sri Lanka 1st innings 472 Pakistan 1st innings 100 Sri Lanka 2nd innings 137-5 Pakistan 2nd innings Mohammad Hafeez c M. Jayawardene b Kulasekara 4 Taufeeq Umar b Kulasekara 10 Azhar Ali c Samaraweera b Herath 7 Younis Khan c P. Jayawardene b Kulasekara 87 Saeed Ajmal run out 12 Asad Shafiq c M. Jayawardene b Herath 80 Mohammad Ayub lbw b Pradeep 22 Adnan Akmal not out 40 Abdur Rehman c Sangakkara b Randiv 14 Umar Gul c Samaraweera b Randiv 4 Junaid Khan c sub (Mendis) b Randiv 8 Extras: (b9, lb2, w1) 12 Total (all out, 114 overs) 300 Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Hafeez), 2-21 (Azhar), 3-25 (Taufeeq), 4-38 (Ajmal), 5-189 (Shafiq), 6-212 (Younis), 7-243 (Ayub), 8-266 (Rehman), 9-280 (Gul), 10-300 (Junaid). Bowling: Kulasekara 23-8-48-3 (w1), Pradeep 15-4-56-1, Herath 42-9-91-2, Mathews 4-1-8-0, Randiv 30-4-86-3