Sri Lanka on top as Pak hit new low

COLOMBO: Seamer Nuwan Kulasekera took a career-best 4-21 as Sri Lanka took early charge of the second Test after bowling Pakistan out for a paltry 90 Sunday.

The tourists, electing to bat on a wicket that provided early assistance to the seamers, slumped to their lowest total against Sri Lanka after being reduced to 19-4 by the seventh over of the match.

Sri Lanka ended the opening day at 164-3 in reply, leaving them well-placed to build on the 50-run win in the first Test at Galle last week that gave them the lead in the three-match series.

Skipper Kumar Sangakkara led the way with an unbeaten 81 after adding 54 for the second wicket with Tharanga Paranavitana and 51 for

the third with Mahela Jayawardene.

Sri Lanka’s 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.

Pakistan caved in just as they had done in the second innings of the Galle Test where, needing 97 more to win on the fourth morning, they lost their last eight wickets for 46 runs.

Pakistan’s 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, 26, who leads the International Cricket Council’s rankings for one-day bowlers, showed he was equally adapt at taking wickets in the traditional five-day format with a remarkable opening burst.

The right-arm seamer, who grabbed 4-71 at Galle, tore through the Pakistani top order in only his eighth Test with three wickets in 15 deliveries at the cost of just three runs.

The Pakistanis 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 third 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.

When Sri Lanka batted, Malinda Warnapura was leg-before to Umar Gul for 11, before off-spinner Ajmal had both Paranavitana (26) and Jayawardene (19) caught close to the wicket.