Sri Lanka took control of the first Test at Galle as they had Pakistan in a struggling position at 118 for 5 after Kaushal Silva’s 125 carried them to 300. When play was halted eight overs earlier than scheduled, Pakistan were 182 runs behind Sri Lanka’s first-innings total. Dhammika Prasad claimed two early wickets for the Lankans while Nuwan Pradeep, Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera claimed a wicket each. Asad Shafiq (14 not out) and Sarfraz Ahmed (15 not out) were at the crease when stumps were drawn.
After Pakistan restricted Lanka to 300, Prasad quickly struck back for the hosts. In the last ball of the first over, he had Mohammad Hafeez had caught at third slip with an outswinger. In his very next over, Prasad had Ahmed Shehzad trapped lbw with one that came back in caught him in front of the stumps. Rangana Herath has dismissed Azhar Ali six times in Tests before, and the left-arm spinner made it seven with an arm ball that beat his defence and struck him on the pads right in front of the stumps. Pakistan thus collapsed to 35 for 3.
In the post-tea session, Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq added 51 for the fourth wicket, as the former decided to start using his feet against spinners. He was looking good on 47, and even hit a six off Perera, but was out clean bowled as he charged down the track and missed an offbreak, then straightened and beat Younis’s inside edge, and crashed into the stumps. Ten runs later, Misbah Pradeep got Misbah with one moved away after pitching. Misbah was only successful in edging the ball behind the stumps, with Kumar Sangakkara diving to his left and taking a brilliant catch.
Earlier, Silva held the innings together for the hosts even as wickets kept falling at the other end. He was eventually 9th man out for 291 as he gloved Zufiqar Babar behind the stumps for a well-compiled 125. Wahaz Riaz again struck early for Pakistan as he cleaned up Angelo Mathews from around the wicket. Dinesh Chandimal got to 23 before he was bowled by Babar trying to cut. Kithuruwan Vithanage struggled during his stay at the crease, and was eventually caught and bowled by Hafeez for 18. The spinners got through the lower order quickly as Babar and Shah finished with three wickets each.
-- By A Cricket Correspondent