Lahore: Wily Sri Lankan off spinner Muthiah Muralitharan snapped up four wickets as his side dominated the first day of the Asian Test championship final at Gaddafi stadium on Wednesday.
At close, Sri Lanka was 94 for one with captain Sanath Jayasuriya batting on 47 and Kumar Sangakkara on 39. Earlier Pakistan was dismissed for 234 with Muralitharan taking four for 55 and pacer Buddhika Fernando chipping in with three for 70. The visitors looked in masterful form after winning their last eight home Tests and caught the home side napping on a lively track that assisted seam bowlers. Sri Lanka got off to a sensational start when reliable opener Marvan Atapattu hooked the first delivery from Waqar Younis straight down the fine leg throat where Shoaib Akhtar held an easy catch. Jayasuriya and Sangakkara cruised along nicely after the early loss and hit 13 boundaries between them against a four-pronged Pakistan pace attack. Put into bat on a hard track with enough grass to help seamers, Pakistan's opening pair woes continued as both Taufiq Umer and Shahid Afridi returned with only 18 on the board. Pakistan has tried eight different opening combinations in its last 11 Tests in one year. Umer failed to keep down a tentative push off Chaminda Vaas and was caught at short leg for six, while Shahid Afridi failed to regain his crease after sent back by Younis Khan for nine. Inzamam-ul Haq and Khan added 86 runs for the third wicket and just when it seemed they would take Pakistan safely to lunch, Sri Lankan bowlers dealt two crucial blows a minute before the interval. Khan, who hit a century against West Indies in Pakistan's last Test in Sharjah, hit two fours and a six off Muralitharan's third over but was bowled round his legs while attempting a sweep against the off spinner. Khan's 46 included eight boundaries and a six. Haq's poor form continued when he edged Fernando to slip for 29 to leave Pakistan reeling at 108 for four at lunch. Pakistan's most consistent batsman in the past two years, Haq has scored a poor 183 in the last four Tests. Another Pakistan mainstay, Yousuf Youhana went soon after lunch when he edged Buddhika Fernando to wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara for six, leaving half the side back for a meagre 127. All-rounder Abdur Razzaq tried to release the pressure hitting four boundaries in the process but he was adjudged leg before when he padded an incoming delivery from Vaas. Pakistan's tail waged and added 87 for the last four wickets. Wicket-keeeper Rashid Latif, who made 36, was involved in two fighting stands of 30 with Shoaib Malik for seventh wicket and 40 with skipper Younis for the eighth wicket. Muralitharan then snatched three wickets off 29 balls to wrap up Pakistan's innings, 45 minutes after tea.
Lankan bowlers keep Pak on leash, 198/7 at tea