Pakistan slump to new low against Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, July 12, 2009 (AFP) - Seamer Nuwan Kulasekera took a career-best 4-21 as Pakistan crashed to their lowest total against Sri Lanka of 90 on the opening day of the second cricket Test on Sunday.

The tourists, who elected to bat on a wicket that gave early assistance to the seamers, never recovered after they slumped to 19-4 within the first seven overs of the match.

Left-arm fast bowler Thilan Thushara chipped in with two wickets and spinner Ajantha Mendis dismissed the last three batsmen as Pakistan were shot out in 36 overs 45 minutes after lunch.

Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik was the lone batsman to defy the Sri Lankan bowlers at the P. Sara Oval, returning unbeaten on 39.

Sri Lanka went to tea on 49-1 with Tharanga Paranavitana on 19 and skipper Kumar Sangakkara on 12.

Malinda Warnapura was the batsman out, leg-before to Umar Gul for 11.

Pakistan had suffered an embarrassing 50-run defeat in the first Test at Galle last week where, needing 97 more to win on the fourth morning, they lost their last eight wickets for 46 runs.

Pakistan's second innings total of 117 at Galle was their lowest against Sri Lanka, but it took just one more innings to fall below that mark in a reckless display with the bat.

Eight batsman failed to reach double figures, while debutant Fawad Alam was the second highest scorer after Malik with a dour 16 in 81 minutes.

Kulasekera, whose 4-71 in the first innings at Galle was his previous best Test effort, tore through the Pakistani top order with three wickets in 15 deliveries while conceding just three runs.

The Pakistanis, hoping to level the three-Test series, appeared rattled after Kulasekera struck the first blow in his second over when Khurram Manzoor edged an outswinger to wicket-keeper Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Pakistan captain Younus Khan departed in the next over without scoring when he chopped a wide ball from Thushara on to his stumps to make it 6-2.

Kulasekera gained a valuable break in his next over when veteran Mohammmad Yousuf cut a ball to point where Rangana Herath picked up a low catch.

Yousuf, a century-maker in the first Test, hit two boundaries in his 10.

There was further trouble for Pakistan when Misbah-ul Haq edged a Kulasekera delivery to the agile Dilshan behind the stumps before he had scored.

Left-hander Alam, who replaced opener Salman Butt from the side that lost at Galle, put on 32 for the fifth wicket with Malik before he was trapped leg-before by Angelo Mathews.

Mendis brought a swift end to Pakistan's innings by claiming Mohammad Aamer and Saeed Ajmal leg-before with successive deliveries.