Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Pakistan injected some life into the first Test after posting a record 765-6 declared and then taking five quick Sri Lankan wickets on the fifth day but failed to stop the match from ending in a draw here on Wednesday.First it was Kamran Akmal, who hit a career best 158 off just 181 balls to take Pakistan to 765 for six, 121 runs ahead of Sri Lanka's first innings total of 644-7 declared, on the final day at the National Stadium.Then fast bowler Umar Gul took two quick wickets followed by a run-out and a double-strike by leg-spinner Danish Kaneria put Sri Lanka in a difficult situation at 120-5 in the 24th over with an hour's play still to go.But Thilan Samaraweera (24 not out), who scored a double-century in the first innings, and Prasanna Jayawardene (7 not out) ensured that no more wickets fell and the match ended in a draw with Sri Lanka at 144-5 in 31 overs.Kumar Sangakkara scored his second successive fifty of the match - a 66-ball 65 with ten fours to give a small crowd an entertaining display of attacking batting. Kaneria finished with 2-35 while Gul took 2-41.

Earlier in the second session, Gul took two wickets in quick succession to reduce Sri Lanka to 54-3 at tea. Gul got rid of opener Malinda Warnapura (2) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (8) while debutant opener Tharanga Paranavitana (9) was run out by Yasir Arafat to leave Sri Lanka in some problems.Sri Lanka raced to 54-3 in just nine overs after wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal hit a career-best 158 not out off 181 balls with the help of eight fours and five sixers to help Pakistan surpass their previous Test best innings of 708 that came against England at the Oval in 1987.All-rounder Yasir Arafat hit an unbeaten 50 - his first Test fifty - after being dropped by Chaminda Vaas off Mahela Jayawardene at 45.It is the first time that a team has crossed the 700-run mark in a Test in Pakistan. The previous best was Pakistan's 699 against India in Lahore in 1989.Pakistan took a first innings lead of 121.Earlier in the first session, Pakistan captain Younis Khan fell in his chase for a world record but enabled his team to get past Sri Lanka's mammoth 644-7 declared in the first innings by lunch.Younis fell for 313 but Akmal and all-rounder Yasir Arafat guided Pakistan to 662-6 at lunch, giving the host team an 18-run lead.Resuming his innings at 306, Younis added just seven more runs to his personal total before falling to Sri Lanka pacer Dilhara Fernando for 313 after a marathon innings that lasted for 836 minutes.At stumps on the fourth day, Younis had indicated that he would try to break Brian Lara's record of 400 in an innings against England at Antigua.But his hopes were ended by what was a good length delivery from Fernando that nipped in sharply from the off stump to shatter the stumps. Younis faced 568 balls, hitting 27 fours and four sixers in his match-saving knock.

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