SL takes the opener despite Afridi's prolific ton

Published: Tuesday, June 15, 2010, 14:48 [IST]
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SL takes the opener

Dambulla: A fighting century from Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi went invain as Sri Lanka thrash Pakistan by 16 runs in Asia Cup opener here on Tuesday

Shoaib Akhtar marked an emphatic return in the international arena keeping a disciplined line and length for Pakistan as Matthews scored a well made half century to post a par score of 242 for hosts in the opening match of the Asia Cup in Dambulla.

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Shoaib making a return in the international got the first breakthrough for the Pakistan team by picking up Upal Tharanga in the seventh over who was caught in two minds lashing at a wide delivery to edge a catch to Salman Butt at slip.

A captain's delight Shoaib bowled smartly varying his pace every other ball and using his extra pace to good use.

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The Pakistan bowlers kept it tight and bowled two continious maiden overs(6th over and 7th over)

Soon in the ninth over Pakistan got the other opener Tillekaratne Dilshan back in the pavillion, after Umar Amin took a brilliant low catch, the ball was dropping on him off the bowling of Mohammad Asif.

However experienced duo of Jayawardenne and skipper Sangakkara steadied the ship by putting up a good partnership(83) and making sure the home team didn't lose more wickets.

Sangakkara was dismissed in the 26th over off the bowling of Afridi while trying to chip the ball over mid-wicket but the elevation was not high enough to beat mid-wicket fielder, Umar Akmal.

Sangakkara made 42 runs of 63 balls before he was dismissed.

The Pakistan bowlers kept it disciplined and made sure the Sri Lankans did'nt get easy runs. The captain was leading from the front with his fielding efforts making some good saves for the Pakistan time.

Mahela Jayawardene showed good form with the bat for the hosts, scoring a well made half-century.

Jayawardene, as classy as ever scored runs all round the wicket hitting three boundaries and picking up singles and two's to give a chance for Sri Lankans to post a competitive total but he was controversially given out soon after his half century by umpire Billy doctrove leg before wicket(lbw) off the bowling of Shoaib Malik, the replay showed that the ball had hit the inside edge before hitting the pads.

Thilan Samaraweera soon followed him and the Sri Lankans were struggling at 150 for the loss of 5 wickets in the 33rd over.

Akthar came into play for his second spell to cast more damage for the home team dismissing two more players, Chamara Kapugedara and Farveez Maharoof.

Akthar finished his quota of 10 overs picking up 3 wickets and giving away 41 runs.

At that stage of play the Sri Lankans were 168/7 in the 38th over and looked in danger of being allout.

However, allrounder Angelo Mathews offered resistance for the hosts and played a gritty unbeaten half century to offer some respectability in the Sri Lankan total.

Earlier, Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakarra had won the toss for the home team and had chosen to bat first.


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