by Sa’adi Thawfeeq
Rain halted Sri Lanka’s run chase for a series levelling win against Pakistan when the final session’s play of the fourth day was washed out in the second Test at the P Sara Oval.
Azhar Ali scored a painstaking century for Pakistan but Sri Lanka seamers spearheaded by Dhammika Prasad dismissed Pakistan for 329 in their second innings by tea to leave themselves with a target of 153 runs to chase.
Prasad bowled pretty impressively on a fourth day pitch to end with figures of four wickets for 92. He was well supported by debutant Dushmantha Chameera who wrapped up the Pakistan innings to finish with three wickets for 53.
It was the seamers who did the damage to the Pakistan innings despite the match entering on its fourth day. Skipper Angelo Mathews also helped himself to two wickets. The spinners managed just one between them with left-armer Rangana Herath dismissing top scorer Azhar for 117 to pick up only his second wicket of the series.
Pakistan who went to lunch at 244-4 lost their last five wickets for 29 runs as the Lankan seamers kept on picking wickets at regular intervals.
Chameera had Asad Shafiq gloving a catch behind the wicket with his score on 27 and Prasad followed with the wickets of Sarfraz Ahmed (16) and Yasir Shah (0).
Herath who had gone wicketless for 32 overs was finally rewarded with the wicket of Azhar whose eight and a half hour conscientious effort was ended when he was beaten by the flight and was stumped for 117. He faced 308 balls and struck only six fours.
Pakistan’s last two wickets didn’t last long with Chameera sending back Junaid Khan (3) and Wahab Riaz (6) in successive overs. Riaz came to bat with a damaged left hand that has ruled him out of the series and lasted just 11 balls.
Wicket-keeper Dinesh Chandimal affected six dismissals in the Pakistan innings to equal the Sri Lanka record of Amal Silva who had done so against India at the SSC in 1985.
Chandimal who had eight victims in the match fell short by one to equal Silva’s record of nine also against India at the SSC and at the P Sara Oval in 1985.
PAKISTAN 1ST INNINGS 138
SRI LANKA 1ST INNINGS 315
PAKISTAN 2ND INNINGS 171-2 continued
Mohammad Hafeez c Sangakkara b Mathews 8
Ahmed Shehzad c Chandimal b Prasad 69
Azhar Ali st Chandimal b Herath 117
Younis Khan c Chandimal b Mathews 40
Misbah-ul-Haq lbw b Prasad 22
Asad Shafiq c Chandimal b Chameera 27
Sarfraz Ahmed c Chandimal b Prasad 16
Yasir Shah b Prasad 0
Zulfiqar Babar not out 7
Junaid Khan c Chandimal b Chameera 3
Wahab Riaz lbw b Chameera 6
Extras (b-2, lb-2,nb-5, w-5) 14
Total (all out, 118.2 overs) 329
Fall of wickets: 1-9 (Hafeez), 2-129 (Shhzad), 3-202 (Younis), 4-234 (Misbah), 5-274 (Shafiq), 6-301 (Sarfraz), 7-303 (Yasir), 8-313 (Azhaar), 9-323 (Junaid), 10-329 (Riaz).
Bowling: Prasad 29.3-3-92-4 (w1), Mathews 11-5-15-2, Herath 34-7-89-1 (w3), Chameera 18.5-1-53-3 (w1, nb3), Kaushal 25-3-76-0 (nb2).