Sri Lanka spinners fight back; Test tantalisingly poised

Joy Montgomery
October 3, 2017

Faf du Plessis' men were without injured seamer Morne Morkel, who will miss the second Test with a side injury, but ran through the tourists nonetheless, as left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj (four for 25) and fast bowler Kagiso Rabada (three for 33) did the damage in a total of 90 all out.

Sri Lanka started the day on 69 for four and were unable to bat past lunch as they capitulated to a combination of increased spin and reverse swing to be 138 all out. The 39-year-old left-armer grabbed 6 for 43 - taking 11 wickets in the match - as Pakistan slumped to 114 all-out chasing a target of 136 to win.

Yasir was the pick of the bowlers with five wickets, while Abbas snapped up two and Hasan Ali, Asad Shafiq and debutant Haris Sohail chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Starting the final day at 69 for four, Sri Lanka stuttered with run-scoring. In doing so, Herath became one of the rare breeds of bowlers to take 100 wickets against Pakistan.

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Hazard's display at the Wanda Metropolitano this week looked like a player keen to make amends and prove a point simultaneously. Alvaro Morata continued his wonderful goalscoring form heading home an Eden Hazard cross for the leveller.

If Bangladesh's batsmen found the going tough in the first Test, they can expect it to be even more hard in the second match if South African captain Faf du Plessis gets his way.

Soon after, he reached his ninth Test century, and also the first as a captain, by driving a Mohammad Amir delivery for a boundary through the cover region. Every young player goes to talk to him about his bowling and experiences. However, the visitors were bowled out inside the first session, thanks to Yasir's five-wicket haul. He bowled a magnificent spell that guided Sri Lanka to the narrow win.

Herath grabbed a five-wicket haul in each innings (5/93 and 6/43) to finish with 11 wickets in the match which saw Sri Lanka defend 135 runs in an exciting contest on the final day of the first Test. "But obviously on the last day he was always going to be a factor and you have got to give him more respect but I would probably have liked to see our batsmen take him on". Dickwella was unbelievable in the second innings, he got us to the 140 mark. "There was something for the spinners so I got this success", he said. "We all know Pakistan are a very good team". While most of the other Sri Lankan batsmen succumbed to the extreme conditions, Chandimal continued his marathon innings with a rock-solid defence and a monk-like temperament. "As a team, we were below par in our performances [against India], but we have waited for this win and finally we got it. Credit goes to all the players".

For the home side to clinch the Test, they perhaps need Sarfraz to play a substantial knock.

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