|Monday, 01 November 2004|
Lanka battle to save Test
Chris Dhambarage reporting from Pakistan
KARACHI, Pakistan, Sunday - Kumar Sangakkara hit a majestic 138 but Sri Lanka were battling to save the Paktel GSM Cup second and deciding test match and the series against Pakistan at the National Stadium here on Sunday.
The Lankans trailing by a massive 270 run on the first innings collapsed to 361 for 7 in their second innings which gave them an overall lead of just 91 runs and with three wickets in hand. They were cruising along towards a position of safety at one stage after Kumar Sangakkara had scored his second one hundred in three test matches against Pakistan.
Sangakkara led Sri Lanka's fight back as he punished the Pakistan bowling attack with a combination of aggression and caution. After losing Sanath Jayasuriya very early in the day, Sangakkara decided to play the anchor role while taking most of the strike against the spinners.
But in a dramatic turn of events Pakistan came back into the game while capturing three wickets during the final one hour including the prize wicket of Kumar Sangakkara.
The left hander missed a drive and was taken by wicket keeper Kamran Akmal giving Rana Naveed ul Hasan his first victim in test cricket. Until then he did nothing wrong stroking a total of 20 fours and one six from 251 balls and 349 minutes of batting time.
The pressure kept on building on the Lankans as they lost both Jehan Mubarak and Romesh Kaluwitharana cheaply. In a marathon spell of 45 overs Kaneria ran through the Sri Lankan middle order capturing three quick wickets.
Sangakkara said that it is really disappointing the manner in which he got out and just could hide his emotions when he threw his bat in the air. He said that to get a century and still be in the losing side is rather depressing because the wicket is still fantastic for batting.
He said that leg spinner Kaneria bowled splendidly and troubled all the batsmen with a long spell. Sangakkara rated this knock as one of his best innings played under pressure even though he has made a career best 230 against the same opposition at Lahore in 2001/2002.
He also said that team has shown tremendous character in their approach towards this game despite trailing by a massive 270 runs.
Meanwhile Thilan Samaraweera displayed marvellous concentration and temperament in scoring a patient knock of 22 runs. But his occupation at the crease was even more important for the side as they frustrated the home team almost during the entire second session.
The solid right hander performed the ideal role which Sri Lanka required at that stage after they had lost Mahela Jayawardena immediately after lunch. Samaraweera 's solid defence was a real headache to the Pakistan team as he did not mind playing down three consecutive maidens off paceman Abdul Razzaq.
Pakistan after having tried hard through their main spinner Danesh Kaneria for 38 overs eventually decided to take the second new ball immediately after the tea break. But Kumar Sangakkara was equal to the task as he produced two cracking cover drives off Abdul Razzaq - the second four bringing up his hundred in 204 balls with one six and a dozen of boundaries.
Earlier Sri Lanka suffered a severe blow when they lost the wicket of opener Sanath Jayasuriya in the ninth over of the day. The left hander was heading towards another big score having completed his second straight century from 110 balls, 125 minutes and with one six and fourteen fours.
But on 107 he decided to sweep leg spinner Danesh Kaneria from outside the off stump and top edged the ball into the safe hands of Shoaib Malik fielding at square leg. His partnership with Kumar Sangakkara was worth 53 runs.
Kumar Sangakkara also began his innings in an aggressive manner stroking two successive fours off paceman Abdul Razzaq. The first one was a fluent drive pass the diving cover point fielder and he followed up this with a classic straight drive pass the bowler. Sangakkara also took up the challenge against Danesh Kaneria while hoisting the leg spinner for a six in the very next over.
Mahela Jayawardena joined Sangakkara and the pair consolidated the position with a third wicket stand of 83 runs. In 98 minutes. Jayawardena looked more confident while playing spinner Danesh Kaneria during the earlier part of his innings.
However Kaneria eventually dismissed Mahela Jayawardena in the third over after lunch with a good delivery which bounced and spun in before Yasir Hameed held on to a catch fielding at forward short leg.
Jayawardena made a quiet 32 from 66 balls occupying the crease for 98 minutes and stroking six boundaries. But Kumar Sangakkara kept Sri Lanka's hopes alive and brought up the 250 run mark by sweeping Shoaib Malik to the fine leg boundary.
SRI LANKA - 1ST INNINGS 208 (Romesh Kaluwitharana 54; Abdul Razzaq 5-35) PAKISTAN - 1ST INNINGS 478 (Younis Khan 124, Inzamam-ul-Haq 117) SRI LANKA - 2ND INNINGS (Overnight 134-1) S. Jayasuriya c Shoaib Malik b Danish Kaneria 107 M. Atapattu c Yasir Hameed b Danish Kaneria 25 K. Sangakkara c Kamran Akmal b Rana Naved 138 M. Jayawardene c Yasir Hameed b Danish Kaneria 32 T. Samaraweera c Younis Khan b Danish Kaneria 22 J. Mubarak c Imran Farhat b Danish Kaneria 2 R. Kaluwitharana b Danish Kaneria 7 C. Vaas not out 2 F. Maharoof not out 0 Extras (b-5 lb-10 nb-11) 26 TOTAL (for seven wickets, 111 overs) 361 FALL OF WICKETS: 1-117 2-170 3-253 4-333 5-351 6-359 7-360. BOWLING: Rana Naved 17-3-67-1, Riaz Afridi 12-3-45-0, Abdul Razzaq 22-5-91-0 (nb-7), Danish Kaneria 45-11-102-6, Shoaib Malik 15-5-41-0 (nb-3).
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