Pakistan hit back after being bowled out for 226
Junaid Khan struck twice in his fourth over to bring Pakistan back to the game having Sri Lanka struggling at 44 for 3 at close of the first day of the third and final cricket test played at the Pallakele International Cricket Stadium, on Sunday. The left-arm seamer bowled a magnificent spell of six overs, forcing the batsmen to play and miss for most of the time, before stand-in opener Dinesh Chandimal, was trapped lbw for eight.
Three balls later, Khan produced yet another brilliant delivery which landed just outside the off stump and crept through the gap of Sangakkara's bat and pad to send him back to the pavilion for his maiden duck against Pakistan. Sri Lanka dismissed Pakistan for a modest 226 with Thisara Perera made a striking return to test cricket by claiming his career best figures of 4 for 57.
Perera claimed three wickets for 31 runs in his nine over first spell in his first test on home soil. He played five test matches before this and all were overseas. He produced yet another good spell during the post lunch session to send Misbah ul Haq back to the pavilion for 40 runs, at a time he looked well set for a long innings. Adnan Akmal was hit by a delivery from Dilhara Fernando and the batsman was forced to leave the crease with his score at 10. Later in the day, Pakistan manager, Naveed Akram Cheema, confirmed that Akmal has got a fractured finger and he will not take the field on Monday. However, the stumper will bat in case the situation demands.
Sending Pakistan to bat first, on a surface promising help for bowlers, Sri Lanka made quick inroads into their innings by deploying two seamers, Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera from both ends for the first 20 overs. Perera started off with a brilliant ball but his next four balls were all over the place and was hit for 10 runs. The all-rounder took control from the next over to claim three wickets for 21 runs. Among Perera's victims were Mohammed Hafeez and Azhar Ali who made centuries at the SSC.
A sharp inswinger crept through the pads of Mohammed Hafeez and Azhar Ali was caught at slip in the next over. Kulasekara struck to his line and length for a long time and his persistency paid off as Younis Khan offered a low catch behind the wicket to Prasanna Jayawardene. Amazingly, Herath came onto bowl ahead of Fernando, who landed the red cherry all over the place in his three over spell. Fortunately for Sri Lanka, the Pakistani batsmen were not in the sort of a mood to go after the bowling and their main concern was to preserve their wickets before the lunch break.
Fernando, Sri Lanka's most experienced bowler with 97 wickets in 39 tests, went wicketless on a seamer friendly surface. He finished with figures of 12-1-48-0. Tillakaratne Dilshan opted out from the test, to stay alongside with his two daughters who had been admitted to a Colombo hospital with flu. Dinesh Chandimal opened the innings with Paranavitana. Sri Lanka recalled Thisara Perera and Dilhara Fernando to replace Suraj Randiv and Nuwan Pradeep Fernando. Pakistan recalled the two seasoned fast bowlers, Umar Gul and Mohammed Sami for Abdur Reheman and Aizaz Cheema.
- Daminda Wijesuriya reporting from Pallakele