Pakistan has rarely been depressed by the continual state of events where spot fixing is in order. While Butt, Asif and Aamer fight it out in England, Pakistan fell Sri Lanka for just 197 runs on the first day of the test match played at neutral venue Abu Dhabi.
It seemed a placid pitch to bat on at the outset, but still Sri Lanka’s openers started on a cautious note, stepping up at tortoise pace. They stitched a partnership of 48 runs at just over 2 runs an over before Thirimanne was out for 20. Aizaz Cheema, making his debut n his 30s bowled fiercely and earned the wicket of Sangakkara. He also literally grilled Jayawardhane with questions. Experienced Umar Gul accounted for the other opener Paranavitana for 37 and then the formidable duo of Dilshan and Jayawardhane joined forces. While Dilshan can think himself unlucky for being wrongly given out caught behind, Jayawardhane was Junaid Khan’s first of five victims.
Allrounder Angelo Matthews batted sensibly and stood like a rock to give some respect to Sri Lanka who was 7 for 114 at one stage. His unbeaten 52 might be of enormous importance if this happens to be a low-scoring affair from here on. He carried Sri Lanka to the brink of 200 that could have a psychological influence. Junaid wrapped up the tail clinically.
Sri Lanka has been rather inconsistent in test matches, playing like lions and drenched cats in alternate matches against Australia recently. Yet, the team was expected to hit a telling blow against a widely inexperienced Pakistan bowling attack. In fact, batting first seemed a boon in the morning.
Pakistan, set to bat a few overs, lost no wickets as Sri Lankan bowlers chose to ball everywhere but at the wicket. Pakistan has Misbah Ul Haq and Mohammed Hafeez and will look to gain at least 100 runs lead.