Pakistan picked up two late wickets on day two of the first day at Galle, when play was finally possible, to share the honours somewhat at stumps. Having elected to bowl first Pakistan managed to finish with three wickets in all while Sri Lanka progressed to 178. Opener Kaushal Silva was the star of the day for the Lankans, remaining unbeaten on a well -compiled 80. Kumar Sangakkara also got fifty, but for someone with such a big penchant for huge scores, he would be disappointed not to have carried on. Having said that, Wahab Riaz continued to be a threat, and claimed two crucial wickets for Pakistan.
With day one completely washed out, Pakistan skipper Misbah Ul Haq gambled by deciding to bowl first after winning the toss, and exploit the bowler-friendly conditions on offer. But, Silva and Sangakkara thwarted them for most part. Silva judged the pitch very well, and avoided playing the drive for most part. He till 12 fours in all, and six of them were either cuts or pulls. Both the spinners, Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah, troubled him, but to his credit, he did not give away the fight. Silva played the spinners very close to his body and, as a result, was successful in overcoming a tough period.
At the other end, Sangakkara also provided him with desired support and assistance. Like, Silva he also avoided the cover drive, and allowed the ball to come on to in, happy to play it down towards mid-on or midwicket. When he reached fifty, Pakistan would have been extremely worried. But, it must be said that, on the day, Riaz had him on the ropes, and eventually deserved to get his scalp. The left-arm seamer clearly ruffled up the Lankan legend with a number of short balls. Then post tea, he got one to straighten from a length and beat Sangakkara. Very next delivery, he went for a drive, and Riaz found the edge.
With better luck, Riaz could have ended up with better figures. Dimuth Karunaratne was caught in the slips in his first over, but the bowler had overstepped. Yasir then dropped Riaz off his bowling at backward point. Later, Azhar Ali also dropped Sangakkara, off Yasir's bowling. Riaz eventually got Karunaratne with an attempted pull, which the batsman inside-edged. Riaz later returned to claim Sangakkara, but not before he had featured in a century stand with Silva. Sri Lanka would have been the happier of the two sides had Lahiru Thirimanne not hit Mohammad Hafeez straight into mid-on's hands.
--By A Cricket Correspondent