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Muralitharan puts home side in charge against Pak

Written by: Staff

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Apr 4 (Reuters) Sri Lanka off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan claimed four wickets to put the home side in charge against Pakistan on the second afternoon of the second test today.

Replying to Sri Lanka's 279 all out, Pakistan lost two wickets in the morning and another five in the afternoon to reach tea on 162-7, still trailing by 117 runs.

Muralitharan, who bowled an unchanged 15-over spell, claimed his first wicket just before lunch and then followed up with three in the afternoon as Pakistan collapsed from 121-2.

Sri Lanka's satisfaction of making deep inroads into Pakistan's top order was marred by the news that Sanath Jayasuriya was unlikely to play any further part in his final test.

Home fans had been hoping for one final Jayasuriya assault with the bat, but he was badly injured while catching Imran Farhat (23) in the morning.

The 36-year-old, who announced his decision to retire last Friday, was taken to hospital where he was treated for a deep cut and a suspected dislocation of his right thumb.

Earlier, Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Asif claimed a career-best 6-44 to help polish off the Sri Lanka tail.

Resuming on 267-8, Sri Lanaka added just 12 runs in 3.2 overs before Nuwan Kulasekera (13) was bowled by Asif and Lasith Malinga (nine) was caught in the covers off leg spinner Danish Kaneria.

SOLID START Stand-in opener Kamran Akmal -- promoted after Shoaib Malik pulled out of the match with a fever -- and Farhat then gave the tourists a sold start with a 57-run opening stand.

However, Sri Lanka struck twice in the final half hour of the morning as Pakistan reached the lunch break on 71-2.

After the break, Mohammad Yousuf (17) and Younis Khan (35) shared a 50-run partnership for the third wicket before Muralitharan struck again.

Yousuf was bowled as he rocked onto the back foot and tried to force an off break through the off side.

Khan was then caught at slip off pace bowler Farveez Mahroof before Muralitharan trapped Faisal Iqbal lbw for five and bowled Abdul Razzaq for four.

The session ended disastrously for Pakistan as Inzamam-ul-Haq was run out for 15 after a direct hit from substitute fielder Chamara Kapugedera in the penultimate over before the interval.

Last week's first test in Colombo ended in a draw.


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