Pakistan struggling after record SLanka stand
by AFP

Ground:National Stadium, Karachi
Scorecard:Pakistan v Sri Lanka
Player:DPMD Jayawardene, TT Samaraweera
Event:Sri Lanka in Pakistan 2008/09

DateLine: 23rd February 2009


Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera smashed double hundreds during a world record stand of 437 as Sri Lanka left Pakistan with a mountain to climb in the opening Test here on Sunday.


Jayawardene ended on 240 and Samaraweera struck a career-best 231 as the tourists declared their first innings at 644-7, their best ever total against Pakistan, on the second day at the National Stadium.


Pakistan, who must score 445 to avoid the follow-on in their first Test in 14 months, were 44-1 at stumps with debutant Khurram Manzoor on 18 and Younus Khan yet to score.


With the twin threats of Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan, the world record-holder for Test wickets, looming large on a pitch likely to take spin, Pakistan's task looks daunting.


"We need to bat sensibly," said Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam, who replaced Australian Geoff Lawson in October last year.


"The Sri Lankans batted well on a lifeless pitch and we bowled poorly on the first day. I am not happy with the pitch."


Muralitharan gave signs of what is in store when he dismissed opener Salman Butt for 23 in the penultimate over to underline a dominant day for the tourists.


Skipper Jayawardene and Samaraweera, who came together on Saturday evening with their team on 177-3, punished the new-look Pakistan attack with their partnership, which was the eighth best for any wicket in Test history.


The overnight pair batted with authority to beat the previous best fourth-wicket stand of 411 between England's Peter May and Colin Cowdrey against the West Indies at Birmingham in 1957.


Resuming at 406-3, they also beat Sri Lanka's previous best fourth-wicket stand 240, set by Asanka Gurusinha and Arjuna Ranatunga against Pakistan in Colombo in 1986.


"Mahela helped me a lot," said Samaraweera. "It's easy batting with him. With him around, you don't have to be bothered about the other end. You can just go ahead and play your shots."


The partnership also took Sri Lanka past their highest Test total against Pakistan - 528 at Lahore in 2002. Samaraweera improved his previous highest Test score of 142 against England at Colombo in 2003.


The two batted through all but two overs in the first two sessions before the Pakistani bowlers were rewarded with three wickets for an unchanged score of 614.


Jayawardene fell when he miscued a sweep shot off spinner Shoaib Malik and was caught one-handed by diving wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal behind the stumps.


The Sri Lankan skipper hit 32 boundaries during his 531-minute stay at the crease. Samaraweera was bowled by leg-spinner Danish Kaneria after hitting 31 boundaries during his 457-minute innings, while Kaneria finished with 3-170.


Jayawardene also shares the record for the highest ever partnership of 624 in Test cricket - made for the third wicket with Kumar Sangakkara against South Africa in Colombo three years ago.


Pakistan are playing their first Test match in 14 months after security problems prompted teams to cancel tours of the country.


They have also been hit by an injury to strike bowler Shoaib Akhtar, as well as international bans against 17 first-class players for taking part in the rebel Indian Cricket League.

(Article: Copyright © 2009 AFP)