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Pakistan had their best day with the bat this entire tour as their batsmen led by Younis Khan (87) and Asad Shafiq (80) helped their side post a commendable 300 runs in the second innings at Galle, but that could not prevent the visitors from going down 1-0 in the test series to a strong Sri Lankan outfit that ultimately romped to a 209 run win on the back of their massive 372 run lead in the first innings. Younis and Shafiq shared in a gritty 151 run stand for the 5th wicket to give the Pakistan dressing room cause for optimism, but in the end it proved to be misplaced as the Lankan bowlers put together a solid enough effort to take the early lead in the series. Nuwan Kulasekara and Suraj Randiv chipped in with 3 wickets apiece to aid the Lankan cause.
Pakistan finally won a session in the Galle Test as their batsmen showed some stomach for the fight, resisting the Lankan spinners on the fourth morning. Resuming from a precarious 36-3, Pakistan were in immediate trouble, losing nightwatchman Saeed Ajmal in just the second over of the day, run out for 12, beaten by a direct hit.
Younis Khan received an early reprieve when he was caught by Dilshan at mid-off off Rangana Herath, but the umpires were not sure that the catch was clean, and referred it to the TV Umpire despite the fielder claiming it. Replays were inconclusive, and Younis was allowed to bat on.
The former skipper found an able ally in Asad Shafiq, and duo comfortably took the visitors past their first innings score of a hundred on a pitch that was not really offering anything special to the bowlers. At lunch, Pakistan were fighting on at 108-4, still over 400 runs behind Sri Lanka, but at least making a fist of the match.
Progress remained slow after the interval, but with both batsmen looking well set, it appeared Sri Lanka would need something special to dislodge them from the crease. Younis and Asad both brought up their half-centuries in the period running upto the drinks break, and Pakistan had pushed and prodded their way to a respectable 154-4.
The run rate picked up drastically towards the end of the session with both batsmen eyeing centuries, and hopes were raised in the Pakistani camp of an epic comeback.
However, just when Pakistan were looking on top of the Lankan bowlers, Herath provided the breakthrough against the run of play, having Asad Shafiq caught at first slip by Jayawardene with a peach of a delivery. Shafiq had battled his way to 80, and perhaps deserved a century, but it was not to be with Herath getting the outside edge of the bat, and Mahela taking a good catch after the ball had brushed the gloves of Prasanna Jayawardene on its way through to him.
Tea was taken just a few overs later with Younis Khan holding up his end unbeaten on 81 while debutant Mohammad Ayub had scored 5 as Pakistan went into the break at 205/5.
The new ball was available just an over after the players returned from the break, and the Lankans took it instantly. The red cherry did the trick with Nuwan Kulasekara providing yet another crucial breakthrough for his team, getting the massive wicket of Younis Khan in his first over, caught behind for 87.
Mohammad Ayub and Adnan Akmal saw off the immediate danger of the new ball and began their version of mission - "occupy crease". With the dictat quite simply to bat as long as one could, there was no rush for either man to take charge of proceedings as the overs continued to tick by.
Just when it appeared that the duo had done the hard part, Ayub was trapped leg before by Nuwan Pradeep for 22, the young Lankan paceman getting his maiden test wicket.
A poor shot from Abdur Rehman (14) got Sri Lanka access to the tail, and enabled Mahela Jayawardene to request for an extra 30 minutes today in an attempt to force a result. Umar Gul (4) got another poor decision from the umpires, giving out caught close in on the off-side, but there was simply no bat involved.
Adnan Akmal meanwhile showed that he could bat and bit and in the company of Junaid Khan, managed to inch closer to his half-century. He was to remain unbeaten though on a well compiled 40 as he ran out of partners in the end, with Suraj Randiv removing Junaid Khan for 8 to wrap up the contest with a day to spare. Randiv picked up the last 3 wickets to fall to end with impressive match figures of 7-99.
Sri Lanka thus take a 1-0 lead in this 3 match test series, and will be the favourites to wrap up the series when these two teams meet again on Saturday, 30th June for the start of the second test in Colombo. Pakistan though will take some heart from their performance in the second innings here with the bat, and will hope to be more competitive in the next game.
Sri Lanka: T Dilshan, T Paranavitana, K Sangakkara, M Jayawardene (c), T Samaraweera, A Mathews, P Jayawardene (wk), N Kulasekara, N Pradeep, R Herath, S Randiv
Pakistan: T Umar, M Hafeez(c), Y Khan, A Ali, A Shafiq, A Akmal(wk), M Ayub, A Rehman, S Ajmal, U Gul, J Khan
Sri Lanka 1st Innings 472 all out (153.2 overs, 3.07 rpo)
K Sangakkara 199* (387) S Ajmal 5-146
T Dilshan 101(181) M Hafeez 3-55
Pakistan 1st Innings 100 (54.3 overs, 1.83 rpo)
M Ayub 25 (103) R Herath 3-30
Y Khan 29 (91) S Randiv 4-13
Sri Lanka 2nd Innings 137-5 declared (41 overs, 3.37 rpo)
T Dilshan 56 (58) J Khan 3-44
Pakistan 2nd Innings 300 all out (114 overs, 2.63 rpo)
Younis Khan 87 (213) N Kulasekara 3-48
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