Honours even on Day One
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Ground:Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo
Scorecard:Sri Lanka v Pakistan
Player:Khurram Manzoor, Mohammad Yousuf, WPUJC Vaas
Event:Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2009

DateLine: 20th July 2009


A day of fluctuating fortunes left the third Test in balance. For most part of the day the Pakistani batsmen were able to repel whatever, the ineffective Lankan bowlers threw at them. But just when the day drew close, the batsmen pressed the self-destructive button, which has become a part of the Pakistani batting line-up, to hand back the advantage to the Lankan team. At the end of the day the Pakistani score stood at 289 for 7. The sluggish outfield didn't give the batsmen full value for their strokes.


The Pakistani openers opted for a steady approach rather than a flashy one as they successfully negated the new ball pair consisting of Vaas and Kulasekara. The opening bowlers were unable to extract any swing or bounce from the placid pitch even though the conditions were overcast. There were few streaky edged from Manzoorís bat but those either fell short of the slip cordon or flew just wide of them. Sensing that his opening bowlers were unable to create any sort of impact, Sangakkara called upon the services of Thushara and he struck immediately. After being pasted through the covers for a boundary, Thushara got one to pitch on the seam and hold itís line just enough to induce a fatal edge of Alamís bat to provide the first breakthrough. To make the matters worse for Pakistan, the skipper Younis Khan went wild at a ball which was pitched short and well outside his off stump, which he unfortunately chopped back onto his stumps and Pakistani score read 36 for 2.


With the arrival of Yousuf at the crease it was widely anticipated that Sangakkara would throw the ball to Herath. But he waited till the 17th over and that wait was crucial as it allowed Yousuf to get his nerves settled. Yousuf showed his intent of getting over Herath when he lofted one over long-off for six of the left-arm spinner and then proceeded to cut the same bowler a couple of boundaries as the lunch break arrived. Post-lunch, Pakistan tightened their grip on Day one as they were able to get through the middle session without losing any wickets. Both Manzoor and Yousuf mixed caution with aggression as they thwarted the attempts of the Lankan bowlers.


Both the batsmen went past the fifty run mark in the second session and both the batsmen were relatively at ease as the pitch had eased out considerably. Both the batsmen were content to let go the ball pitched outside the off stump through to the keeper as they were intent on making good use of the base they have laid down by them. Both the batsmen looked in for a long haul as they approached their respective centuries and it was just then that the Lankan team struck back. Manzoor looked increasingly edgy as the triple figure neared especially when he entered the nineties. To make the problem worse he was up against an experienced warhorse, who sensed his nervousness. Manzoor who till then allowed the ball to come to him rather meet began to press forward and on more than one occasion began to lose his balance. He was beaten once and one ball later had a nervous prod at one leaving him to give Sri Lanka a welcome breakthrough. Next to go was Yousuf who in a comical mix-up with Misbah was found short of his crease. Malik and Misbah then steadied the innings, but once the new ball was taken, both fell. Thushara bended one into Malikís pads and caught Malik leg before. Three balls later, Misbah nicked one from Kulasekara, and the thin inside edge was taken by Tillakaratne Dilshan behind the stumps. When Umar Gul then chopped one back on to his stumps all the good work was undone.


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