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Azhar Ali consolidated Pakistanâ€™s stranglehold on the second test against Sri Lanka on a rain-marred second day in Colombo with a gritty 157 to ensure the visitors ended the day on a dominating 488-4. Earlier in the day, the first session saw Day 1 hero Mohammad Hafeez (196) narrowly miss out on a double century before rain stopped play for a good two hours. Pakistan scored briskly after the rain delay but the rain returned again to bring a premature end to proceedings at the SSC.
Starting the day on a commanding 334-1, one would have expected Pakistan to show some intent by scoring some quick runs but it was a different case altogether. Mohammad Hafeez hit a couple of boundaries off a Nuwan Kulasekara over and that was that as both batsmen were close to personal milestones and went into a shell staying content with the ones and the occasional two.
Rangana Herath operated right through the first session from one end and he was generous in flighting the ball while skidding one through occasionally. The ploy eventually paid off as Hafeez, perhaps in an attempt to reach his double hundred with a sweep shot to the fence, perished on 196 as he missed the tossed up ball and the ball crashed into the stumps.
The very next over, Azhar Ali cut a short and wide Nuwan Pradeep delivery to the fence and brought up his patient century. He was now in the company of Younis Khan and both of them batted with determination and kept prodding the ball around and kept the scoreboard ticking. When it was almost time for lunch, the heavens opened up and early lunch was taken with Pakistan in the driving seat at 404-2. Though Pakistan made good progress in the session, considering the state of the match, three boundaries in the entire session indicated that the progress was indeed a tad slow.
It continued to rain beyond the lunch break and hence play couldnâ€™t resume until 2pm, but the playing hours were rescheduled to ensure only seven overs were lost due to the showers. However, it continued to be dark due to the clouds.
Younis Khan and Ali came out with a positive mindset and scored some brisk runs but Khan (32) was soon adjudged lbw by the umpire after missing an arm ball from Herath. It was a close call as the ball seemed to have hit him just outside the line of off-stump.
The skipper Misbah-ul-Haq walked in and started scoring at a healthy rate right away. Ali too wasnâ€™t far behind and quickly brought up his 150. The duo added fifty quick runs in less than ten overs but unfortunately Ali fell for 157 top edging a simple catch to short third man while trying to reverse sweep Suraj Randiv. It started to rain just after that and an early tea break was taken with Pakistan on 488-4.
Unfortunately, the drizzle stayed on for quite a while and after assessing the situation, the umpires decided to call it a day one hour into the session. With further rains predicted during the rest of the test and a flat batting surface to play on, a draw looked the most probable of results.
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,Â·M Hafeez,Â·Y Khan,Â·Misbah-ul-Haq (c),Â·A Ali,Â·A Shafiq,Â·A Akmal (wk),Â·Â·A Rehman,Â·S Ajmal,Â·A Cheema,Â·J Khan
Pakistan 488/4(134.2 overs, 3.63 rpo)
M Hafeez 196(331) R Herath 2-143
A Ali 157(295) A Mathews 1-55
- 04/07/2012 13:42 - Pakistan win brownie points as Colombo Test ends in a draw
- 03/07/2012 13:05 - Dilshan, Sangakkara score centuries, but Pakistan get hope late in the day
- 02/07/2012 15:06 - Rain ruins most of day 3 of Colombo Test, Sri Lanka 70-1 chasing Pakistan's 551-6