Karachi: Pakistan's fast bowlers hit back to leave Sri Lanka at 64-3 at stumps on day one of the second Test after the hosts had been dismissed for 191 in their first innings on Thursday.
Pakistan chose to bat but struggled against the pace of Lahiru Kumara and the spin of Lasith Embuldeniya. The 22-year-old Kumara claimed 4-49 with his lively pace and left-arm spinner Embuldeniya justified his selection with 4-71 as Pakistan lost its last five wickets for only 19 runs.
“There’s a small patch in the middle of the wicket so there’s a small turn from that area,” Embuldeniya said. “(It) will play a big role later in the game.”
On a day dominated by pace with a tinge of grass on the wicket, Sri Lanka also ran into early trouble as it lost captain Dimuth Karunaratne (25), Oshada Fernando (4) and Kusal Mendis (13).
Fernando was caught behind off left-arm quick Shaheen Afridi. Mohammad Abbas (2-21) bowled Karunaratne and had Mendis caught low in the slips.
Angelo Mathews was 8 not out while nightwatchman Embuldeniya was unbeaten on 3 when bad light stopped play nine overs before the scheduled close.
Earlier, Test specialist Asad Shafiq (63) and the ever-reliable Babar Azam (60), who made a century in the rain-hit drawn first Test, scored half centuries for Pakistan.
Left-arm fast bowler Vishwa Fernando had made early cracks into Pakistan’s batting when he knocked back the off stumps of Shan Masood (5) and Azhar (0), who has now scored just 162 runs in his last 13 Test innings at an average of only 12.46.
Azam — the only other batsman after India's Virat Kohli to be in the top 10 in Test, ODI and Twenty20 rankings — added 62 runs with Shafiq after Pakistan slipped to 65-3 in the first session.
Pakistan’s latest batting hope, Abid Ali (38), hit seven fours, and a pulled six off captain Dimuth Karunaratne’s occasional spin, before he was undone by Kumara’s sharp delivery and was out lbw before lunch.
Abid made headlines last week as he became the only male international cricketer to score centuries in both his ODI and Test debuts when he reached his ton against Sri Lanka in the drawn first Test at Rawalpindi.
Abid added 55 runs with Azam before Kumara struck in his second spell.
Azam completed his half century off 75 balls with a cover-driven boundary in offspinner Dilruwan Perera’s first over before Embuldeniya lured him for a big hit and got him stumped.
“(Azam) tried to come down the track and hit me quite a lot,” Embuldeniya said. “I saw him coming down the wicket so I pulled back the length and it turned a lot which helped me to take the wicket.”
Haris Sohail, who struggled against Australia in the only Test he played, was given another opportunity, but the left-hander was trapped lbw by Embuldeniya in the last over before tea which Pakistan took at 171-5.
Kumara then ran through Pakistan's lower order after tea. He was on a hat trick after he hit the top of Mohammad Rizwan’s off-stump and Yasir Shah fell to a toe-crushing yorker off the next delivery. Abbas avoided the hat trick before edging Embuldeniya in the slips.
“We didn’t expect turn on the first day, but they used the conditions very well,” said Shafiq, who top edged Kumara to fine leg before Embuldeniya wrapped up the innings. “Their fast bowlers also bowled very well and put us under pressure from both ends.”
Leg-spinner Shah returned to Pakistan's XI after working with spin consultant Mushtaq Ahmed at Lahore on his googlies and bowling action last week.
Pakistan went with an all-out pace attack at Rawalpindi but Shah has returned to replace Usman Shinwari, who is ill.
Karachi hosted the last fully fledged Test in Pakistan in 2009, when Younis Khan scored a triple century in the drawn game against Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan team's bus came under attack at Lahore in the following Test match. The ambush killed eight people and injured several Sri Lanka players and officials and shut the doors on international cricket on Pakistan.
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Root, who led by example with match-winning knocks of 228 and 186 in the first and second matches respectively, said the team looks in good shape ahead of the four-Test series in India that starts in Chennai on 5 February.
Root’s 228 had provided England a strong total of 421 and a meaningful first innings lead of 286, but Thirimanne stood firm for two sessions to remain unbeaten on 76 off 189 balls and carried Sri Lanka to 156-2 at stumps.
Root and Bairstow got together to thwart the Sri Lankan attack as they put on an unbroken 93-run stand until the close of play.