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  • Pakistan fightback highlights second day’s play

    An unbeaten century by debutant opener Fawad Alam on Monday swung the momentum Pakistan’s way as it took a lead of 28 runs in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

    Pakistan overhauled a 150-run first-innings deficit and finished the second day on 178 for one at the P. Sara Oval.

    No nerves

    Alam was on 102 from 153 balls, including six boundaries and a six. He pulled left-arm spinner Rangana Herath for a six and pushed the next ball to third-man for a couple to reach his 100.

    The left-hander was involved in an 85-run opening stand with Khurram Manzoor and an undefeated 93-run partnership with captain Younus Khan, who was unbeaten on 35.

    Absolutely delighted

    “I can’t explain how I feel but I am absolutely delighted,” Alam said.

    “I am glad that for him and for Pakistan his hundred has come at the right time. I am very pleased the way he has performed,” coach Intikhab Alam said.

    Confident shout

    Younus survived a confident shout for leg-before (when he was on four) that was turned down by Australian umpire Daryl Harper.

    Pakistan started the second day with little hope having conceded the host a healthy 74-run lead in the first innings and still seven wickets to be taken.

    Gul, Ajmal shine

    However, seamer Umar Gul and spinner Saeed Ajmal took four wickets apiece to restrict Sri Lanka to 240 in the first innings.

    Later, Alam and Manzoor built on the platform created by the bowlers before Herath dismissed Manzoor for 38, caught by wicketkeeper Tillakaratne Dilshan.

    Pakistan was all out on the opening day for a paltry 90 runs, its lowest-ever total in Tests between the two countries.

    Losing advantage

    Sri Lanka resumed the second day at 164 for three and appeared destined for a bigger lead but lost the advantage as the Pakistani bowlers struck regularly.

    The first break came in the form of a run out when overnight batsman Thilan Samaraweera was caught short of his crease for 21 with the total on 177.

    Sangakkara misses out

    Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara missed out on a century when he was brilliantly bowled between bat and pad by Gul for 87, ending a 150-ball knock that contained nine hits to the fence.

    Dilshan was snapped up by wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal off Ajmal for 20, before Gul dismissed Nuwan Kulasekera for 11 and Herath for a duck in successive deliveries to leave the host at 226 for eight at lunch.

    Sri Lanka’s innings lasted just six overs after the break as the Pakistani bowlers wasted no time in polishing off the tail.

    Angelo Mathews was the last batsman out for 27, caught by Mohammad Yousuf off Ajmal.

    Gul returned figures of four for 43, while Ajmal had four for 87.

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