Pakistan sight win after rookies tame Sri Lanka
by AFP

Ground:Galle International Stadium, Galle
Scorecard:Sri Lanka v Pakistan
Player:Mohammad Aamer, NT Paranavitana, Younis Khan, Saeed Ajmal
Event:Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2009

DateLine: 6th July 2009


Debutants Mohammad Aamer and Saeed Ajmal combined to wreck Sri Lanka's batting and put Pakistan on the road to victory in the first cricket Test here on Monday.


The pace-spin duo grabbed three wickets each as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 217 in their second innings on the third day, leaving Pakistan a modest victory target of 168 runs.


The tourists, who have never lost a Test series in Sri Lanka, ended the day at 71-2 and have two days to score the remaining 97 runs with eight wickets in hand for a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.


Sri Lanka removed Khurram Manzoor and skipper Younus Khan in the space of three runs to make Pakistan 39-2, but opener Salman Butt (28 not out) and veteran Mohammad Yousuf (12 not out) saw out the day.


Teenage left-arm fast bowler Aamer broke the back of Sri Lanka's batting with three wickets for two runs, before off-spinner Ajmal polished off the tail in front of 5,000 stunned home fans here.


The 17-year-old Aamer followed his three wickets in the first innings with a hostile burst soon after lunch.


He had Tharanga Paranavitana, Mahela Jayawardene and skipper Kumar Sangakkara caught by wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal in the space of 16 deliveries on a lively wicket freshened up by early morning rain.


Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam said he was delighted at the performance of the three newcomers in the bowling attack.


"Aamer and Ajmal yes, but don't forget another debutant, Abdur Rauf, who bowled so well in both innings," said Alam, a former Pakistan captain and leg-spinner.


"I must congratulate these youngsters. They have performed exceedingly well. Both Aamer and Ajmal have sharp cricketing minds and read the situation very well.


"A target of 168 does not look so big, but on a wicket like this where there is a lot of movement, it is not that easy to get, either.


"The first hour will be very crucial tomorrow. We don't want to lose wickets in a heap."


Sri Lanka's Australian coach Trevor Bayliss blamed the poor batting in both innings for allowing Pakistan to emerge on top in the Test.


"Too many batsmen played from the crease on a wicket where the ball seamed about and paid for it," he said.


"We need to take some early wickets tomorrow. Hopefully there will be some overnight rain and overcast skies and the ball will nip around a bit more like it has done in this game."


Paranavitana, top scorer in Sri Lanka's first innings with 72, once again held the innings together with 49, but found little support from the top order.


Jayawardene failed to score and Sangakkara, leading Sri Lanka for the first time in a Test series, made nine and 14 in the two innings.


Sri Lanka were reduced to 101-5 when Thilan Samaraweera (34) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (22) put on 37 for the sixth wicket.


Sri Lanka's last three wickets added 61 valuable runs after the seventh wicket had fallen at 156 with the hosts just 106 runs ahead.


The three-match series is the first between the two nations since gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in the Pakistani city of Lahore on March 3 while the squad was en route to resume a Test match.


The attack left seven Sri Lankan players injured and eight Pakistani security forces dead.


The two teams recently contested the World Twenty20 final in England, in which Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets.

(Article: Copyright © 2009 AFP)