Depleted Pakistan restrict Lankan batsmen

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Jaipur:Medium Pacer Abdul Razzaq made Pakistan forget doping blues claiming four wickets as Sri Lanka were all out for 253 in 49.2 overs in the Group 'B' league match of the ICC Champions Trophy here today.

Mahela Jayawardane won the toss and expectedly opted to bat on a pitch which had no devil in it and the Pakistan bowling department looked depleted in absence of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohd Asif who disgraced themselves after being tested positive for drugs and had to go back home.

Sri Lanka, with a formidable batting line up, were expected to thrash the Pakistani bowling and the way they started it looked they were going to put up a huge total.

However, the Pakistanis displayed their traditional fighting qualities and Abdul Razzaq led the charge to keep the Islanders under leash.

Pakistan skipper Younis Khan handled his bowlers intelligently and used as many as seven bowlers with only Shahid Afridi completing his 10-over quota. Besides Razzaq's four for 50 haul in 7.2 overs, Shoaib Malik scalped two wickets while Afridi, Rao Iftikhar and Mohd Hafeez chipped in with one wicket each.

Though the top order gave the Lankans a good start the middle and lower order failed to consolidate that while Pakistani bowlers, after initial bashing, came back in the game with some intelligent bowling.

In-form Upul Tharanga and veteran Sanath Jayasuriya, playing his 368th One Day International, gave Sri Lanka a blistering start as they put on 63 runs off 9.1 overs.

Jayasuriya, who equalled Sachin Tandulkar's record of playing the highest numbers of ODIs, looked in a dangerous form as he blasted Naved-ul Hassan for 17 runs in one over (4,6,4,3) and then slammed Rao Iftikhar for 10 runs, hitting the latter for a straight six and then for a boundary.

Jayasuriya survived a chance when he was on 48 as he was dropped by Afridi off Umar Gul. However, the seasoned opener could not capitalise on the chance as in the next over he was clean bowled by Rao Iftikhar, who rattled his off stump with a superb delivery. The batsman contributed 48 which included two huge sixes and five fours in just 25 balls.

Tharanga and Jayawardane, the latter playing his 225th match, kept the scoreboard moving and soon the skipper became the fifth Sri Lankan batsman -- after Jayasuriya, Marvan Attapatu, Arvinda De Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga -- to score 6000 runs in the One day Internationals.

The two accelerated the run rate and looked set for a big stand before Tharanga lost his cool. He smashed Razzaq for two boundaries and trying for the third he edged an outgoing ball and wicketkeeper Kamaran Akmal took a fine catch.

The second wicket partnership was worth 45 runs which came off 8.3 overs and the opener's contribution to team's total was 38 (48balls, 6x4) and Sri Lanka were 108 for two in 17.4 overs.

Tharanga's departure saw run rate slowing down with Jayawardane and his deputy Kumar Sangakkara going into a defensive mode. The two took the score to 141 but at this stage Shoaib Malik struck.

The Lankan skipper attempted a sweep only to to edge and Imran Farhat took a fine catch in the slips. Jayawardane was involved in a 33-run third wicket stand and his own contribution being 31 (41balls, 3x4).

Sangakkara, after scoring 39 (47 balls, 5x4) and putting up 40 runs for the fourth wicket with Atapattu, departed at the score of 181 and after that the Sri Lankan inning disintegrated and the remaining six wickets added only 72 runs in 16.4 overs with Atapattu chipping in valuable 36 runs (53balls,1x4) before being run out.

The Pakistanis, after the initial Sri Lankan blast, regained their composure and fielded superbly and backed their bowlers well to stop the Islanders from going berserk.


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