Junaid five-for puts Sri Lanka in trouble

News

Junaid Khan's maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket ensured that Pakistan bowled Sri Lanka out for just 197 on the opening day of their Test series.

Junaid Khan's maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket ensured that Pakistan bowled Sri Lanka out for just 197 on the opening day of their Test series.

Openers Mohammad Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar had little trouble in reply as the hosts closed on 27 without loss.

Eyebrows were raised slightly when Misbah-ul-Haq elected to bowl first on a flat pitch in Abu Dhabi and confirmed that Wahab Riaz had been left out of Pakistan's side, but Junaid justified both decisions with several spells of fiery bowling that yielded figures of five for 38.

Angelo Mathews was the only Sri Lankan batsman to pass fifty, and was left unbeaten on 52 when a vicious bouncer from Junaid left debutant Nuwan Pradeep with nowhere to hide, and resulted in a catch for wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal.

While there was more grass on the pitch than when Pakistan drew with South Africa at the same venue last year, and therefore more pace, Junaid's figures were testament to his willingness to bend his back.

An attritional first session had seen Sri Lanka reach lunch on 50 for one, but the fast bowlers stepped it up after the break and clinched five Sri Lankan wickets as they found a bit of extra bounce.

Offspinner Saeed Ajmal took the other wicket of the second session, doubling his yield after he'd had opener Lahiru Thirimanne caught at slip prior to lunch.

Junaid was the destroyer-in-chief in the second session with three scalps, but it was Aizaz Cheema who made the crucial breakthrough early on when he got a delivery to nip away from Kumar Sangakkara and catch the edge, leading to a fine catch by Akmal.

Tharanga Paranavitana (37) had batted patiently throughout the opening hours, but threw away the hard work when he tried to pull an Umar Gul delivery which wasn't short enough and was caught behind.

Ajmal then had a stroke of fortune when Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan was given out caught behind, despite not making contact with the ball, and his dismissal opened the gates.

Junaid charged through, removing Mahela Jayawardene (28) with some extra bounce that found the shoulder of the bat, then uprooting Prasanna Jayawardene's stumps with a furious yorker and trapping Rangana Herath lbw.

Sri Lanka had lost four wickets for the addition of just two runs, but Mathews and Suranga Lakmal ensured there was no further damage as they reached the tea interval on 115 for seven, and then added 54 for the eighth wicket.

It took a good catch at slip by Mohammad Hafeez to break the stand as Gul found the edge of Lakmal's bat, after which Mathews was able to shepherd the tail for another ten overs, which was enough for him to reach his half-century before Junaid grabbed the last two wickets of the innings.

Latest