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Gul, Sami restrict Sri Lanka

World Cricket

PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka – Umar Gul grabbed three wickets in a sharp opening spell as Pakistan restricted Sri Lanka to 135-8 in the first one-day international in Pallekele on Thursday.

The fast bowler (3-24) removed skipper Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dinesh Chandimal to send Sri Lanka reeling at 23-3 in the first nine overs of the day-night match, reduced to 42-overs-a-side due to rain.

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Pakistan's bowler Umar Gul celebrates the dismissal of Sri Lankan batsman Mahela Jayawardene during the first one day international cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Pallekele, Sri Lanka, Thursday, June 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Gul was superbly backed by paceman Mohammad Sami, who dismissed Kumar Sangakkara and all-rounder Angelo Mathews in his first two overs to reduce the hosts to 41-5. He finished with 3-19 off six overs.

Lahiru Thirimanne, who added 50 for the eighth wicket with Nuwan Kulasekara (18), top-scored for Sri Lanka with an unbeaten 42 while extras contributed 31, the second-highest of the innings.

Thisara Perera (17) and Upul Tharanga (10) were the other batsmen to reach double-figures.

Sangakkara, who took 20 deliveries to open his account, made just nine runs before being trapped leg-before while Mathews was caught at first slip by skipper Misbah-ul-Haq for no score.

Off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez bagged two of the last three wickets to finish with an impressive 2-20 off 10 overs.

Gul struck in his third over when he had opener Dilshan (five) caught by Saeed Ajmal at mid-on and then trapped Jayawardene (three) leg-before in his next over.

He put more pressure on Sri Lanka when he bowled Chandimal for no score in his fifth over.

The second one-dayer will also be played in Pallekele on Saturday and the last three games in Colombo on June 13, 16 and 18.

The one-dayers will be followed by a three-Test series starting on June 22. – Sapa-AFP

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