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Sri Lanka survives late scare

PAKISTAN captain Younis Khan missed his opportunity to challenge Brian Lara's world record score of 400 and Sri Lanka held off an unlikely victory push by the hosts yesterday to force a draw in the first test in Karachi.

Younis was out for 313 before declaring the first innings at 765-6 ?? a lead of 121 runs and also a record Pakistan total ?? an hour after lunch on the last day. Kamran Akmal remained unbeaten on a career-best 158.

On a batsmen-friendly wicket, there appeared little chance of a result, but Pakistan claimed some quick early wickets to raise hopes of a win. At 45-3, Sri Lanka looked vulnerable, but Kumar Sangakkara's 65 held the innings together, and Thilan Samaraweera and Prasanna Jayawardene negotiated the last eight overs to finish at 144-5.

"The last couple of hours was a bit disappointing for us in batting but overall I am very happy with our performance especially after scoring a big total in the first innings," said Mahela Jaywardene, who made 240 in the first innings, but only 22 in the second.

Pakistan's previous highest test score had came against England at The Oval when it scored 708 in 1987 and the giant total in this match also eclipsed the highest innings total in a test in Pakistan - surpassing it's own 699-5 declared against India at Lahore in 1989.

With a draw always looming as the likely result, the main interest on the final day was how many runs Younis could get.

Resuming on 306, he was aiming to break the record individual score set by former West Indies great Lara and other records along the way. However, he could add only seven runs before he was bowled by fast bowler Fernando.

"It was a good team effort and I am happy with the way we fought in the first innings," said Younis.

His monumental 12 hours 48 minutes innings began late on the second day. He hit 27 boundaries and four sixes during his composed and patient knock, facing 568 balls.

Upon dismissal, Younis was congratulated by all the Sri Lanka players as he walked back to the dressing room after becoming only the third Pakistani to score a triple century.

Pakistan record

Hanif Mohammad still holds the Pakistan record of 337 runs made against the West Indies at Barbados in 1958. Former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq scored the other Pakistan triple century when he made 329 against New Zealand at Lahore in 2002.

After his dismissal, Akmal and Yasir Arafat (50 not out) added 169 runs for an unfinished seventh wicket stand and scored at will on a placid National Stadium wicket which had come under severe criticism for being too beneficial to batsmen.

Akmal hit eight fours and five sixes and faced 184 balls. He surpassed his previous test best of 154 against England at Lahore in 2005. Arafat hit two fours and two sixes in his 129-ball innings.

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene could have got both batsmen but Dilhara Fernando dropped Akmal at long off on 136 and, just before the declaration, Vaas floored a chance off Arafat in the deep.

Sri Lanka bowlers toiled for well over two and a half days to get just six scalps.

World's leading test wicket-taker offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan (1-172) bowled 65 overs but could not add a wicket on the final day. Unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis (1-57) also bowled 59 overs but could get little assistance from the wicket.


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