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Rock-solid Karunaratne steady Sri Lanka

Opener withstand Pakistan’s tight attack with unbeaten half century

  • Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
  • Dimuth Karunaratne of Sri Lanka cuts one to the fence on the first day. The left-hander was unbeaten on 89 at Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
  • Yasir Shah (centre) celebrate with teammates after taking the wicket of Sri Lankan opener Kaushal Silva.Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
Gulf News

Dubai: Dimuth Karunaratne displayed his calibre as a solid opener through an elegant unbeaten 89 runs to place Sri Lanka at a creditable 174 for 3 at dinner break on the first day of the second Test match with a pink ball at the Dubai international stadium. His knock off 182 balls contained 11 boundaries and portrayed his patience and determination to stay at the wicket and lay the foundation for a big total.

Sri Lanka won the toss, and like in the first Test in Abu Dhabi, promptly elected to bat. The first boundary of the day came from Karunaratne, who clipped Mohammad Amir to deep midwicket in the fifth over. Yasir Shah, who was introduced in the 11th over, began with a maiden over.

Kaushal Silva played second fiddle and the pair recorded their fifty runs partnership in the 19th over. In that over, Silva scored his first boundary when he pulled Shah to the deep square leg boundary. Silva scored one more boundary in the 21st over off Shah before he fell for 27 runs, made off 71 balls with only two boundaries in the 23rd over.

Attempting to pull Shah, Silva managed only to inside edge to wicketkeeper and skipper Sarfraz Ahmad, who gleefully took the catch. It was an innocuous half tracker delivery that did not deserve a wicket and the wicket even surprised Shah. Kaushal literally gifted his wicket away to end the 63 runs partnership.

Debutant Sadeera Samarawickrama joined Karunaratne, who was stroking fluently. He hit Amir for three boundaries in the 26th over. Karunaratne completed his half century in 84 balls. At tea break, Sri Lanka posted 96 for one in 28 overs.

Twenty-two-year-old Samarawickrama played a beautiful back-foot drive off Shah, past point. He also pulled Wahab Riaz to deep square leg boundary displaying his excellent foot work to take Sri Lanka past the 100 run mark.

Samarawickrama, showing no nerves of playing his first Test match, stepped out to Shah and hit him to deep extra cover boundary. He also hit Shah for the first six of the match over long off. Though he did not time it well, the shot was played through the line and had the power to take the ball over the fence. His cracking shot off Riaz through the covers was a beauty but it all ended when Amir had him caught and bowled for 38 runs. Samarawickrama was surprised by the extra bounce Amir had generated and chipped it to the left of Amir who dived and took the catch to end the elegant 35 ball knock.

Pakistan picked a quick wicket when Shah had Kusal Mendis out for just one run. Mendis thick edged to the right of Asad Shafiq, who took a fine catch at slip.

Skipper Dinesh Chandimal joined Karunaratne as the lights came on. Karunaratne despite batting so long refused to attack but made sure to punish the bad ball. He picked the gaps intelligently. As the track was faster than Abu Dhabi and outfield quicker as well, each of his well placed shots fetched him runs.

Amir did swing the ball, Riaz bowled with tremendous pace and Shah too spun the balls as best as he could maintaining a good line and length, still Sri Lanka batsmen have put their team on the path for a good total. Though the tight bowling did sink the run rate, Karunaratne and Chandimal, unbeaten on 14 after playing 66 balls have held on to place Sri Lanka in a strong position.

Despite a Friday, only around 700 people turned out to watch this Test match, which is being played at night, mainly to attract more crowds into the stadium.

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SPORT PICTURE OF THE DAY: December 18, 2017


FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi holds up the Golden Shoe award, as the last season's leading goalscorer in league matches from the top division of every European national league, prior of the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Deportivo Coruna at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain.

AP