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Sri Lankans fight back

FAISALABAD, OCT. 21. Sri Lanka recovered to take the prized wickets of Inzamam-ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik on Thursday and fight its way back into the first cricket Test against Pakistan.

Pakistan finished the second day at 256 for eight, a lead of just 13 runs. Tail-enders Mohammad Sami (2 not out) and Shoaib Akhtar (6 not out), who earlier took five wickets in Sri Lankan first innings total of 243, survived the last three overs of the day.

"The Test is not finished as yet, we will try to post a big score and take at least 80 to 90 runs lead tomorrow," Akhtar told reporters.

"We should have restricted Sri Lanka to below 200, but it was a good batting wicket," said Akhtar."

Left-arm spinner Sanath Jayasuriya opened up the Pakistan tail by dismissing Moin Khan (5) late in the last session, while Abdul Razzaq (39) was neatly caught by Mahela Jayawardene in the slips three overs before stumps off Chaminda Vaas.

Inzamam (32) top edged left-arm spinner Rangana Herath soon after tea while Malik (48), who hit seven boundaries in his knock, missed his maiden half century when Vaas ran him out off a direct throw from mid-on.

Hameed top-scorer

Opening batsman Yasir Hameed was the top scorer with 58 and gave a blazing start to Pakistan's reply as the home team was comfortably placed at 85 for one in 20 overs before lunch.

However, Dilhara Fernando struck twice after lunch. Asim Kamal (11) chased Fernando's wide delivery to Jayawardene while Hameed, who hit 10 boundaries, mistimed a pull shot and Jehan Mubarak plucked a splendid two-handed diving catch at square-leg.

Yousuf Youhana (17) was caught behind while attempting a lose shot off Herath before Malik and Inzamam added 54 runs for the fifth wicket.

Pakistan smashed 85 runs in 20 overs before lunch and lost only opener Imran Farhat (11), who was also caught by Mubarak at deep square-leg off Lasith Malinga's short delivery.

Earlier, Pakistan took just 22 deliveries to wrap up Sri Lanka's first innings after it resumed at the overnight total of 233 for seven.

Thilan Samaraweera, 97 overnight, scored his first Test century outside Sri Lanka with a square drive off Akhtar's first delivery for three runs, but two balls later offered a tame catch at square-leg.

"I am really happy to score a century outside Sri Lanka," Samaraweera said. "People say I am good only in Sri Lanka, but it's really happy times to score against Shoaib and Sami.

"The wicket is good for batting," he added. "It's similar to the wickets in Sri Lanka and I am surprised that both teams scored only 250-odd runs."

Samaraweera, who had scored his previous three Test centuries in Colombo, faced 232 balls in his five and a half hours knock of 100 that included 10 boundaries.

Akhtar scalps five

Akhtar (five for 60) then bowled Fernando to claim his ninth five-wicket haul in 33 Test matches and Sami (four for 71) wrapped up the innings by clean bowling last man Malinga.

Herath, who added valuable 57 runs for the ninth wicket with Samaraweera, remained unbeaten on 33 off 45 balls, hitting seven boundaries.

Later, Akhtar, who raised his wickets tally to 130, said: "Of course I love to bowl with the new ball, it's pleasurable and it's nice. I am more effective with the new ball.''

Akhtar bowled only twice with the new ball in the five one-day Internationals of the triangular series which Sri Lanka won in Lahore last week. But Akhtar defended captain Inzamam-ul-Haq's decision to use him as either first or second change bowler in limited-overs cricket.

``Sometimes you have to do it for your team. If the captain asks you to bowl first or second change I am ready to do it, if it's good for the team,'' he said.

``I am glad that I have got my rhythm back in Test matches because there are lots of opportunities in Test matches,'' said Akhtar.

The speedster said it's not easy for him to bowl at an electrifying pace all the time. ``You can't bowl fast every day, please don't expect that all the time.'' — AP


Sri Lanka — 1st innings: M. Atapattu lbw b Akhtar 0, S. Jayasuriya c Kamal b Sami 38, K. Sangakkara c Farhat b Akhtar 2, M. Jayawardene c Moin b Sami 0, T. Samaraweera c Sami b Akhtar 100 , J. Mubarak c Inzamam b Sami 34, R. Kaluwitharana c and b Kaneria 4, C. Vaas c Youhana b Akhtar 22, R. Herath (not out) 33, D. Fernando b Akhtar 0, L. Malinga b Sami 1, Extras (lb-3, nb-6) 9, Total: 243.

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-6, 3-9, 4-77, 5-142, 6-147, 7-180, 8-237, 9-242.

Pakistan bowling: Akhtar 19-3-60-5, Sami 21.4-5-71-4, Razzaq 15-5-33-0, Kaneria 18-3-53-1, Malik 8-1-23-0

Pakistan — 1st innings: Y. Hameed c Mubarak b Fernando 58, I. Farhat c Mubarak b Malinga 11, A. Kamal c Jayawardene b Fernando 17, Inzamam c Malinga b Herath 32, Y. Youhana c Kaluwitharana b Herath 17, S. Malik (run out) 48, A. Razzaq c Jayawardene by Vaas 39, M. Khan b Jayasuriya 5, Mohd. Sami (batting) 2, S. Akhtar (batting) 6, Extras (b-6, lb-4, nb-11) 21, Total (for eight wkts.) 256.

Fall of wickets: 1-28, 2-94, 3-109, 4-134, 5-188, 6-227, 7-246, 8-248.

Sri Lanka bowling: Vaas 22-5-56-1, Malinga 10-1-50-1, Fernando 16-0-65-2, Herath 24-4-66-2, Samaraweera 1-0-5-0, Jayasuriya 4-1-4-1.

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