Aamer rocks Sri Lanka in first Test

GALLE: Pakistan's teenaged fast bowler Mohammad Aamer grabbed two quick wickets before Sri Lanka recovered from a shaky start in the first cricket Test here Saturday.

The hosts went to lunch on the opening day at 104-3 after being sent in to bat by Pakistani captain Younus Khan on a wicket freshened up by early morning rain in this coastal town.

Sri Lanka slipped to 21-2 before Tharanga Paranavitana (57 not out) and Mahela Jayawardene (30) retrieved the situation by adding 75 for the third wicket.

The 17-year-old Aamer, who was one of Pakistan's heroes in their triumphant World Twenty20 campaign in England last month, justified his Test debut at the expense of seasoned all-rounder Abdur Razzaq.

The left-armer struck with the last ball of his first over in Test cricket when he bowled opener Malinda Warnapura for two as the batsman was beaten by pace and chopped the ball on his off-stump.

Aamer then removed Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara in his third over, forcing the star batsman to edge a short ball to Shoaib Malik at third slip.

Aamer should have taken two more wickets but Malik dropped Paranavitana, then on four, and wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal let off Jayawardene before the batsman had scored a run.

Akmal made amends 90 minutes later when he snapped up Jayawardene off fast bowler Abdur Rauf, but not before the former Sri Lankan captain had partnered Paranavitana in the rescue act.

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

The attack injured seven Sri Lankan players and killed eight local security men.

The first Test began 13 days after Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka in the World Twenty20 final at Lord's on June 21.

Pakistan opted for a lone specialist spinner in Saeed Ajmal, while veteran batsman Mohammad Yousuf returned to the Test side after 18 months, having broken links with the unauthorised Indian Cricket League.

Aamer was one of the three debutants for Pakistan alongside Ajmal and Rauf.

Sri Lanka brought in left-arm spinner Rangana Herath to partner Ajantha Mendis in the absence of world record holder Muttiah Muralitharan, who was ruled out with a knee injury.