Sunday 1 July 2012
Last Update 2 July 2012 8:12 pm
COLOMBO: Azhar Ali equaled his career-best score of 157 yesterday as Pakistan took firm control of the second cricket Test against Sri Lanka, reaching 488 for four before rain brought an early end to day two.
Only 44 overs of play was possible under heavy overcast conditions with the match also being interrupted for 90 minutes after lunch. Match officials decided on a reduction of seven overs from the 90 overs scheduled for the day but a bigger downpour shortly before a rescheduled tea break resulted in the day’s play being called off.
Ali spent more than seven hours at the crease, faced 295 balls and hit nine boundaries before being caught by Nuwan Kulasekara trying to reverse sweep off spin bowler Suraj Randiv.
He earlier shared a record 287-run partnership for the second wicket with Mohammad Hafeez who missed out on his maiden double century and was dismissed for 196. It is the highest second wicket stand by any team against Sri Lanka.
Hafeez, who opened the batting, was dismissed in the first session, bowled by left-arm spinner Rangana Herath. He faced 331 balls and hit 20 boundaries and a six.
Captain Misbah-ul-Haq was on 29 with Asad Shafiq at the close of play.
Herath returned the best bowling figures of 2-143 for the home side.
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene surprised many on Saturday when he decided to bowl first on a placid Sinhalese Sports Club pitch that traditionally helps batting. Team coach Graham Ford conceded that the decision was wrong as the bowlers toiled on an unresponsive track.
Pakistan opener Taufeeq Umar took advantage of good batting conditions and gave his team a good start with a 74-ball 65 including 12 boundaries. His opening partnership with Hafeez was worth 78 runs.
He was out caught behind by Prasanna Jayawardene to seamer Anjelo Mathews.
England beats Australia to win
In London, England beat Australia by six wickets to win the second One-Day International at The Oval yesterday and so take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
England, set 252 for victory, finished on 252 for four with 26 balls left.
Ravi Bopara top-scored with 82 after opener Ian Bell had made 75.
Earlier Australia, who won the toss, were held to 251 for seven after struggling against disciplined bowling despite opener Shane Watson’s 66 and George Bailey’s career-best 65.
Fast bowler Steven Finn led an attack missing James Anderson because of a groin injury, with one for 36 in nine overs.
If England complete a 5-0 clean sweep they will replace Australia at the top of the one-day international world rankings.
The series continues with a day/night match in Birmingham on Wednesday.
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