Mon, Jun 25, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Sri Lanka close in on big victory

AFP, GALLE, SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan, right, drops a catch off Pakistan’s Mohammad Ayub on the third day of the first Test Match in Galle, Sri Lanka, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Hosts Sri Lanka turned the screws on Pakistan in the first Test in Galle after battering the tourists with both bat and ball on the third day yesterday.

Sri Lanka bowled Pakistan out for 100 in the first innings in reply to their own 472, with off-spinner Suraj Randiv grabbing 4-13 and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath taking 3-30.

The hosts surprisingly declined to enforce a follow-on despite a substantial lead of 372 runs and made 137-5 in their second knock before skipper Mahela Jayawardene declared in the final hour.

Pakistan, set an improbable victory target of 510 runs, were reduced to 36-3 by stumps after seamer Nuwan Kulasekara dismissed stand-in captain Mohammad Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar.

Herath had Azhar Ali taken at silly-point by Thilan Samaraweera, leaving nightwatchman Saeed Ajmal (11) and the team’s most experienced batsman Younis Khan (0) at the crease.

The hosts, overwhelming favorites to go 1-0 up in the three-match series, have two days to force a result on the spin-friendly wicket, despite forecasts of wet weather on both days.

Pakistan’s target was way above the highest fourth-innings total ever achieved to win a Test match — 418-7 by the West Indies against Australia in Antigua in 2003.

Pakistan’s best fourth-innings performance is 343-3, which helped them draw the Dubai Test against South Africa in 2010.

The Test has been marred by at least 10 contentious decisions over three days by umpires Steve Davis of Australia and Ian Gould of England, with six of them going against the tourists.

Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore slammed the absence of the Decision Review System (DRS) in the series.

Whatmore, a former Sri Lanka coach, said he was surprised that DRS was not available for the series when it was used for Sri Lanka’s two home Tests against England in March and April.

“They had it for England, so why not here?” Whatmore, who guided Sri Lanka to the World Cup title in 1996, asked reporters.

“It does not seem right to me that you have it for one series and not for another,” he said. “DRS should be made compulsory for every series. That will go a long way in helping a lot of things — anything that will help make correct decisions.”

Pakistan were bundled out on the stroke of lunch after resuming the day at 48-5.

The tourists were dealt a cruel blow within the first 30 minutes of play when Younis was given out leg before wicket for 29 by umpire Davis.

Television replays showed a clear inside-edge off the bat on to the pad and a surprised Younis, who had scored 14 of the first 17 runs of the day, stood his ground, before walking off.

There was no doubt over the next wicket, though, as Adnan Akmal was run out for 9 when Mohammad Ayub refused a second run and both batsmen were stranded at the same end.

Ayub plodded for two hours to score a dour 25 when he was ninth out, leg before to Herath.

Sri Lanka’s second innings was built around an opening stand of 81 between Tillakaratne Dilshan (56) and Tharanga Paranavitana (25).

Gould ruled Dilshan not out when Ajmal appealed for a leg-side catch by the wicketkeeper. Replays showed the ball did nick the bat.

Ajmal finally earned a break in his next over when Gould accepted his loud appeal for leg before against Paranavitana.

Dilshan was leg before to Junaid Khan and Kumar Sangakkara was snapped up in the covers off Ajmal for 1. Junaid also dismissed Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera to finish with 3-44.

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