Bad weather limits 2nd day of Pakistan-Sri Lanka Test to 18.2 overs

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Bad weather limits 2nd day of Pakistan-Sri Lanka Test to 18.2 overs
Bad weather spoiled the second day of Pakistan’s first home cricket Test in more than 10 years as only 18.2 overs could be bowled against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

Resuming on 202-5, Sri Lanka reached 263-6 when play was called off at 3:30pm due to bad light. Niroshan Dickwella on 33 was the only wicket to fall.

Only about 2,000 spectators were drawn by free entry to the 17,000-seat Pindi Cricket Stadium.

“I came to the stadium at around 9:30am, but I am so disappointed that I could watch less than 20 overs,” said Siddique Ahmed, a college student. “I wish tomorrow its a bright sunny day so that I can watch some exciting cricket.”

But the forecast for Friday is for more rain in the northern city.

Earlier, Dhananjaya de Silva completed his sixth test half-century and Sri Lanka added 20 runs before rain arrived after only 35 minutes of play in the first session.

The 16-year-old fast bowler Naseem Shah induced an edge off Dhananjaya in his third over of the morning, but the batsman was declared not out after video replays showed the ball kissed the grass before wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan caught it.

Dhananjaya completed his half-century off the next ball when he played an on-drive off a full toss and ran for two runs before the rain came. Dhananjaya has hit eight fours and faced 104 balls.

Play resumed after a break of 2 hours, 43 minutes, and Pakistan finally got the breakthrough with the second new ball during 10 overs of play.

Left-handed Dickwella was neatly caught at gully off left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Afridi, then the umpires stopped play due to bad light.

Dhananjaya was unbeaten on 72 off 131 balls with 11 boundaries while Dilruwan Perera was 2 not out.

“If we could get a 300-plus score we could put Pakistan under pressure tomorrow,” Dickwella said.

“With these (overcast) conditions we have three good seamers and an offspinner we are confident that they will get some purchase out of this wicket.”

Young fast bowlers Afridi (2-47) and Shah (2-75) bowled with some lively pace under favourable conditions, especially with the second new ball.

“We tried to give 100 per cent,” Afridi said. “The ball is still new and we will try to bowl them out as quickly as possible tomorrow.”

Test cricket has returned to Pakistan after a long gap of 10 years as Sri Lanka tour the country for a two-match series at Rawalpindi and Karachi.

The vote of confidence from Sri Lanka is hugely symbolic as they were the last team to play a Test match in Pakistan in March 2009, when their team bus came under attack at Lahore.