Dubai: Sri Lankan batting maestro Kumar Sangakkara praised Pakistan's use of the new ball which helped them skittle their riavls out for another low score of 239 in the second Test here on Wednesday.
Spearhead Umar Gul did the early damage with 3-78 and was ably supported by Junaid Khan (2-57) before Sangakkara scored a fighting 78 and number ten Chanaka Welegedara a career best 48 to help Sri Lanka avert disaster at Dubai Stadium.
Sangakkara, who turns 34 on Thursday, said the Sri Lankans were disappointing in batting.
"It was just a case of getting through that new ball without losing too many wickets," said Sangakkara, whose epic 211 helped Sri Lanka salvage a draw in the first of three Tests in Abu Dhabi last week. "But, having said that, I thought Pakistan used that new ball very well. There wasn't too much in that wicket, so it was a bit disappointing from our side, but again it was a great fightback to get to 240-odd runs at the end."
When Sangakkara holed out to left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman, Sri Lanka, at 154-8, were in danger of being dismissed for under 200 but were lifted by a fighting 75-run stand for the ninth wicket between Welegedara and Rangana Herath (29).
Pakistan finished the day at 42-0 after batting nine overs in fading light and Sangakkara said he felt early wickets on day two will be crucial.
"With 240, if we get some wickets with the new ball tomorrow (Thursday) early, we might have a chance of keeping Pakistan down to a manageable total," said Sangakkara, replaced as captain by Tillakaratne Dilshan in May this year.
Sangakkara showed disappointment over not using a dry pitch to the best effect.
"This wicket is probably slower than the one in Abu Dhabi, with less movement first up. So it was unfortunate we couldn't make better use of it, but that's the beauty of Test cricket.
"Sometimes, when you don't have a great first innings, you need to claw your way back into the match and every day and over that we play out there is an opportunity for us to get back in the game," said Sangakkara.
Pakistan's ace paceman Gul said bowlers exploited the early moisture well.
"Definitely we are very happy because the coach told us that there was a bit of moisture on the wicket and you can try and get five to six wickets early. So I was a bit surprised, but later on what he said was true," said Gul.
Gul said he hoped Pakistan can take full advantage of Sri Lanka's low score and enforce a win.
"We have to bat well to take the lead and then repeat our bowling performance of the first innings to win the Test. We are up to it and will do our best to take a 1-0 lead here," said Gul.
The third and final Test will be played in Sharjah from November 3-7.