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Jul 15, 2009

Sri Lanka first home series win over Pakistan

Sri Lanka sealed the three test match series with a seven-wicket victory in the 2nd Test on Tuesday after the unpredictable tourists suffered a spectacular collapse.

Pakistan, sitting good-looking at 285-1 just before lunch on the third day, collided to 320 all out after the break to leave Sri Lanka a winning target of 171 on a good batting pitch at the P. Sara Oval.

Sri Lanka sailed home with two days to spare to record their first home series win over Pakistan after losing three of their five previous series & drawing the other two Series.

Sangakkara, 31, took over as a Skipper after Mahela Jayawardene stepped down in March to focus on his batting and allow his successor to build a team for the 2011 World Cup.
Sangakkara, a long-time assistant to Jayawardene, showed he was cut out for the job with creative leadership in the two Tests.

His utilize of left-arm spinner Rangana Herath in the two Tests in the absence of the injured Muttiah Muralitharan bordered on a reckless risk, but it paid off handsomely both times.

On a seamer-friendly wicket in the first Test at Galle, Sangakkara throw the ball to Herath on the 4th morning when Pakistan needed only 97 runs to win with eight wickets in hand.

Rangana Herath eradicated the two overnight batsmen, Mohammad Yousuf and Salman Butt, with his first four balls and finished with a career-best 4-15 as Pakistan lost their last eight wickets for 46 runs.

On Tuesday, Skipper Sangakkara handed the new ball to spinner Rangana Herath, instead of his fast bowlers, and the left-armer once again dismissed Yousuf with his 2nd delivery to trigger another Pakistani collapse.

Herath completed with 5-99 and seamer Nuwan Kulasekera took 4-37 as Pakistan lost their last nine wickets for 35 runs after debutant Fawad Alam's superb 168 and Younus' 82 had put the tourists in an excellent position.

"We expected the spinners to get some bite off the new ball because if it landed on the glossy side it would slip through and hopefully hit the pads," said Sangakkara.

"We walked onto the ground idea of starting with the fast bowlers from both ends, but I throw the ball to Rangana, who came up with a wicket in his first over.

"No matter who bowled, we wanted someone to stand up and do something special for us. happily we had two people, Kulasekara and Herath, who bowled superbly in partnership."

Sangakkara, whose team lost to Pakistan in the World Twenty20 final in England last month, hopes to complete a 3-0 rout when the 3rd Test starts at the Sinhalese sports club here on July 20.

But he said he was concerned that Sri Lankan batting had not touched 300 in the four innings so far.

"We have got a lot of work to do with the batting," he said. "Everyone is batting well, but we just want to go on and bat for hours and hours."

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