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Inzamam praises brilliant Malik in Sri Lanka draw

Written by: Staff

COLOMBO, Mar 30 (REUTERS) Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq praised Shoaib Malik after the opener's 148 not out saved the first test against Sri Lanka today.

Pakistan, set 458 to win, lost only four wickets in 121 overs as Malik masterminded a brilliant rearguard action with his maiden test ton on the final day. The touring side finished on 337 for four.

''The boys played really well - especially Malik and (Faisal) Iqbal,'' Inzamam told reporters.

''Malik played a brilliant innings and when someone plays like he did the opposition is always going to be in trouble.

''When we didn't lose a wicket until the luncheon interval it was the turning point as we were confident of batting out two sessions.

''The pitch was good but some balls were keeping slow and low and it was not easy against the fast bowlers.'' Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene was not downbeat by his side's inability to force a result.

''The wicket played really well and we were not very lucky today. The guys gave everything but it was not our day.

''When you have 140 overs to get the opposition out it is a missed opportunity, but I am not disappointed with the way we played the game overall.

''To fight back from 32 for five to be pushing hard for a win on the final day was a decent performance and there were a lot of positives.

Two umpiring errors helped Malik save the game, particularly an lbw before tea when the right-hander was on 70.

''We shouldn't take anything away from him, he batted really well - to bat for eight hours and nearly 400 balls is a magnificent effort,'' said Jayawardene.

''He had a fair bit of luck but that is how the game goes.'' REUTERS DH RAI2046

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