Younus Khan's outstanding hundred and valiant fight from the lower-order batsmen helped Pakistan gain an upper hand in the first Test match against Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium on Thursday.
Younus (177) anchored the innings and helped Pakistan in reaching their second-highest total in Tests in past eight years. The veteran batsman started the second day with Asad Shafiq and made a 137-run partnership for the fifth wicket to put the visitors on course of a huge total.
Shafiq (77) was the first to go on the second day, when he was trapped in front by left-arm spinner Rangana Herath. Younus then combined with Sarfraz Ahmad made a 66-run stand for the sixth wicket. The stylish right-hander failed to score a double hundred and was dismissed by Dilruwan Perera.
Pakistan lower-middle order played pretty well as Ahmad (55) and Abdur Rehman (50) scored fine fifties to help their team post a 451-run total in the first innings.
"This game is still wide open even though there is some turn and bounce in this wicket," said Younus. "The third day's play tomorrow will be very crucial. If we can get some early wickets, then we can put them under pressure. I thought we were unlucky not to get more than one wicket today."
"But Sri Lanka too have some very good batsmen who are capable of putting up a big score," he added. "A lot will depend on how our spinners, Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman, bowl in the morning."
Off-spinner Perera was the pick of the bowlers for the islanders as he took a fifer, Herath finished with three wickets and pacer Dhammika Prasad struck twice.
In reply to a huge total, the Lankan Lions lost opener Upul Tharanga (19) cheaply, when he was plumbed lbw by Junaid Khan. Kaushal Silva and Kumar Sangakkara rebuilt the innings and stitched an unbeaten 83 stand for the second innings. They helped Lanka in reaching 99 for one by the end of day's play.
"This is a different Galle pitch," said Herath. "There may be some turn and bounce, but it is also easier to score runs. If we put up a huge total, it could be an interesting game."
Where to Watch Live
The third day of the first Test is scheduled for 10:00 am local (10:00 am IST, 4:30 am GMT) start with live coverage on Ten Cricket and Ten HD in India. Catch ball-by-ball update of the match online HERE. Catch the action live on TV on Ten Sports in Sri Lanka, while viewers can also live stream the action HERE.