Pakistan get off to tentative start in first test after Junaid Khan's heroics
Saeed Ajmal (C) celebrates with teammates after dismissing Sri Lanka's batsman Lahiru Thirimanne (unseen) during the first day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at The Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on October 18, 2011. PHOTO: AFP
ABU DHABI: Pakistan negotiated a tricky half-hour spell to reach stumps on 27 without loss after a five wicket haul by rookie paceman Junaid Khan restricted Sri Lanka to 197 in the first test of the three test match series.
Khan, buoyed by his maiden haul said that he wanted to fill the void left in Pakistan’s pace attack by the absence of his close friend and one-time bowling partner Mohammad Aamer.
The 21-year-old took a maiden five-wicket haul to help Pakistan dismiss Sri Lanka for a low score of 197 on the opening day of the first Test at Abu Dhabi stadium.
“I will do my best to fill the void and do as well as my team needs,” said Khan, whose 5-38 rocked the formidable Sri Lankan batting. “I am delighted with my effort but all the bowlers did well as no one man can get a team out.”
Khan hails from Abbottabad in North-Western Pakistan, a town where Osama Bin Laden was killed by American Special Forces in May this year, played most of his cricket with Aamer.
The duo, both left-arm pacemen, toured various countries with Pakistan junior teams between 2005 and 2009 before the more talented Aamer was picked for Pakistan’s seniors.
Khan said the pitch at Abu Dhabi stadium was responsive.
“There was a little bit of seam early but otherwise, I used the yorker and mixed the bowling up and it’s pleasing to get them out for a low score,” said Khan, who hoped Pakistan put up 300-350 for a winning lead.
Khan got just one wicket on his debut Test, against Zimbabwe last month.
Khan said legendary Pakistan pacemen Imran Khan and Wasim Akram were his idols but he developed into a good bowler only under Waqar Younis’s coaching.
“I am quite lucky that way. During the World Cup (2011), there was Aaqib Javed and Waqar and alongside them Wasim also gave tips when he came on how to bowl. I started playing cricket only after watching Imran.
“When I went to Lancashire, Wasim used to call me and tell me how to bowl, how to use the conditions,” said Khan. “That stint was very helpful. I learnt there how to seam, how to swing the ball, how to bowl a yorker.”
Earlier Pakistan dismissed Sri Lanka for 197 on the opening day of the first Test at Abu Dhabi stadium here on Tuesday.
Sent into bat, Sri Lanka lost six wickets in the second session before Angelo Mathews chipped in with a fighting 52 not out.
Khan finished with 5-38.
Pakistan surprisingly left out experienced left-arm paceman Wahab Riaz and included rookie Junaid Khan, also a left-armer.
Sri Lanka also kept the same combination, giving 24-year-old paceman Nuwan Pradeep the Test cap, and entering the match with only one specialist spinner in Rangana Herath.
Sri Lankan openers were cautious at the beginning as their first boundary came only in the 14th over when the left-hander Paranavitana drove Hafeez to the cover boundary.
Misbah brought on spinner Hafeez in the eighth over, and he came close to trapping Thirimanne in his first over. But a loud appeal for leg-before was turned down by New Zealand umpire Tony Hill.
Former Sri Lankan captain Sangakkara brought up the fifty with a single, as Pakistan’s pacemen toiled hard under a scorching sun.
The three Test series was shifted to United Arab Emirates after Sri Lanka refused an invitation to tour Pakistan in the wake of terrorists attacks on a military base in Karachi in May this year.
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Taufiq Umar, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Aizaz Cheema, Junaid Khan.