Praise for Sri Lanka bowlers

GALLE, Sri Lanka - Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara praised his bowlers after the team's dramatic 50-run win in the first Test against Pakistan yesterday, but called for an all-round improvement ahead of the second match in the series.

Pakistan appeared on course for a routine victory when play resumed on the fourth morning, starting the day on 71-2 and needing only 97 more for victory, but the tourists slumped to 117 all out after an inspired bowling effort from the hosts.

"We knew if we were to have a chance then the first five to six overs were going to be crucial and that we needed two or three wickets, but we never expected it to happen so quickly," Sangakkara said yesterday. "Until today, Pakistan outplayed us but this morning we really showed a lot of heart and character."

Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath lead the attack with four wickets for 15 runs to earn the man of the match award while left-arm quick bowler Thilan Thushara chipped in with 2-21.

"The way Rangana and Thilan bowled was spot on . they put the balls in the right area, they were patient and worked hard for their wickets," Sangakkara said.

He brushed aside pre-match criticism that the bowling lacked experience without veteran Chaminda Vaas and the injured Muttiah Muralitharan.

"It is an inexperienced attack but also a fresh attack where the lack of experience was made up for by enthusiasm and a real hunger to do well and stay in the side."

But the Sri Lanka captain was critical of the team's batting display. - Reuters