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Pakistan pace bowlers leave Sri Lanka reeling

Written by: Staff
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COLOMBO, Mar 27 (Reuters) Pakistan's pace bowlers clinched an early advantage for their team as Sri Lanka slumped to 71 for five at lunch on the second day.

Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul shared five wickets after skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq won the toss and choose to bowl in damp, overcast conditions in the morning.

Sri Lanka's top order struggled as the ball darted around off the seam on a pitch that had remained covered for 24 hours after the first day's played was abandoned due to heavy rain.

Asif claimed three for 23 from a long 10-over spell and Gul snared two for 14 from a shorter seven-over new ball burst.

The host's openers were dismissed in a 3.4 over session before a further rain interruption held up play for nearly 40 minutes.

Upul Tharanga (nought) was adjudged lbw by a delivery from Asif that held its line and veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya (six), playing his first test for over six months, chopped a short ball onto his stumps.

After the rain break Sri Lanka's problems deepened as Kumar Sangakkara (eight) shouldered his arms to a fine delivery that cut back to clip his off bail.

Captain Mahela Jayawardene laboured 30 minutes for his one run before reaching for a wide delivery from Gul and edging a low catch to wicket keeper Kamran Akmal.

When Thilan Samaraweera (four) played no stroke to a delivery that cannoned straight into his middle stump, Sri Lanka were left reeling on 30 for five.

However, middle order batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan led a fightback and stabilised the innings with a plucky 33 not out, an aggressive innings that included five boundaries.

Pakistan fast bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan returned home on Sunday night to be with his family.

Key middle order batsman Mohammad Yousuf was unavailable for selection due to a hamstring injury.

REUTERS PM ND1240

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