Friday, July 24, 2009

Sangakkara century seals draw

Captain Kumar Sangakkara hit a match-saving century as Sri Lanka carved out a draw in the final Test against Pakistan in Colombo.

Set 492 for victory, Sangakkara's knock ensured his team fought off the tourists' challenge to seal a 2-0 series win and at tea even looked set for a late dart at an improbable win.

Instead he closed unbeaten on 130, with partner Angelo Mathews hitting 64no in a fourth-innings total of 391 for four.

Sri Lanka had needed 154 from a possible 38 overs in the final session but Sangakkara shook hands with opposite number Younus Khan with 101 needed from the 16 remaining overs.

It marked the end of a mammoth battle for the Sri Lanka captain, who had batted over seven hours to save the Test.

He had added 122 for the fourth wicket with Thilan Samaraweera (73) and an unbroken 114 for fifth wicket with Mathews.

Pakistan's bowlers started the day hopeful of securing a face-saving victory, but instead were put through the grind and finished with just one success - Samaraweera caught behind off Saeed Ajmal.

Sri Lanka pair stands firm
Sri Lanka, overnight 183 for three, started the day needing 309 runs for victory and remained on course for victory as Samaraweera and Sangakkara batted resolutely through the morning.

Younus unwittingly aided their cause when handing fast bowler Umar Gul the ball in the morning rather than leading wicket-taker in the match, leg-spinner Danish Kaneria.
Gul had struggled not only with his run-up, but strayed in line as well, allowing the Sri Lankan batsmen to easily work off morning blues.
Samaraweera was the dominant partner in that fourth-wicket stand which, driving Gul confidently off the front and back foot.

The middle-order batsman started with a sweetly-timed cover drive which yielded three and got his team past the 200-run mark with another cracking drive through long-off the fast bowler.

Samaraweera could easily have had more than the 11 boundaries he finished with in his innings had it not been for a slow outfield.

However, Gul and the second new ball helped him reach his half-century with another drive to the cover boundary just an hour in.

Sangakkara's innings was circumspect right through as the Sri Lanka captain concentrated on holding his end up.

He eventually lost Samaraweera a few overs into the afternoon session, the middle-order batsman succumbing more to a bout of cramps than any brilliance on the part of Pakistan's bowlers.

Samaraweera had needed treatment for a cramped hamstring in the first over after the lunch interval and batted briefly with a runner before being dismissed.
Samaraweera, who had shown immaculate footwork against the spinners, leaned forward to defend a delivery from Saeed Ajmal but failed to get to the pitch and Kamran Akmal grasped the edge.

Mathews plays a crucial knock
Pakistan's hopes of making further inroads, however, suffered another setback as Mathews continued where Samaraweera left off.
He struck stride immediately and lifted the run rate as the opposition wilted in the field.

Together with Sangakkara, Mathews turned the tables and left Sri Lanka needing 154 from the final session of a possible 38 overs - still a gettable ask.
But Sri Lanka ended the suspense by, perhaps surprisingly, calling for a truce just when the first drinks break of the final session was announced.
Sangakkara faced 303 deliveries and cracked seven boundaries, while Mathews struck seven boundaries and a six off Ajmal during his stay at the crease.

Subscribe in a reader

No comments:

Post a Comment