Gul reduces Sri Lanka to 54-3 at tea

February 25th, 2009 - 6:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Feb 25 (IANS) Fast bowler Umar Gul took two wickets in quick succession to reduce Sri Lanka to 54-3 at tea after Pakistan declared their first innings for a record 765-6 on the fourth day of their first cricket Test at the National Stadium here Wednesday.
Gul (2-28) got rid of opener Malinda Warnapura (2) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (8) while debutant opener Tharanga Paranavitana (9) was ran out by Yasir Arafat.

Sri Lanka’s second innings total by tea came in just nine overs after wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal hit a career-best 158 (not out) off 181 balls with the help of eight fours and five sixes to help Pakistan surpass its previous best Test innings score of 708 that came against England at the Oval in 1987.

All-rounder Arafat hit an unbeaten 50 - his first test fifty - after being dropped by Chaminda Vaas off Mahela Jayawardene at 45. It is the first time that a team has crossed the 700-run mark in a Test in Pakistan. The previous best was Pakistan’s 699 against India in Lahore in 1989.

Pakistan took a first innings lead of 121 which means Sri Lanka, which seemed to have batted Pakistan out of the Test match by scoring 644-7 declared in the first innings, still 67 runs behind will have to negotiate a minimum of 33 overs in the final session of the match.

Earlier in the first session, Pakistan captain Younis Khan fell in his chase for a world record but enabled his team to get past Sri Lanka’s mammoth first innings total by lunch.

Younis fell for 313 but Akmal (89 not out) and Arafat (17 not out) guided Pakistan to 662-6 at lunch, giving the host team an 18-run lead.

At stumps on the fourth day, Younis had indicated that he would try to break Brian Lara’s record of 400 in an innings against England at Antigua.

But his hopes were ended by a good length delivery from Fernando that nipped in sharply from the off stump to shatter the stumps. Younis faced 568 balls, hitting 27 fours and four sixers in his match-saving knock. He left Pakistan at 596-6, just 48 runs behind Sri Lanka’s 644.

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