Azhar Ali takes the ball on his tummy as during his fighting century against Sri Lanka on the fourth day of the second Test at the P Sara Oval. AFP picture by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq

Pakistani batsman Azhar Ali believes that Pakistan can still make a match of it if they continue to fight the way they have so far in the second Test against Sri Lanka at the P Sara Oval.

Pakistan was dismissed for 329 in their second innings leaving Sri Lanka a target of 153 to chase to win and level the three-match series one-all.

Sri Lanka will begin their run chase on the final day but Azhar said that Pakistan still had some runs on the board and would do their best to defend it.

“We fought back from the first day that’s the best part. Every day we came out and kept on fighting and that’s a good sign. Getting out for 138 in the first innings it’s been a great effort by our bowlers and batters who have fought hard to give us something to fight for. These kind of total always are dodgy and with a few early wickets we can again make a swift comeback in the game,” said Azhar.

It was Azhar’s ninth Test century and his fifth against Sri Lanka that has given Pakistan some hope of making a fight of it on the final day of the Test.

“As a batsman in every innings I have a role to score runs for my team.  I tried again and scored a hundred and I am happy with it. I am hopeful that the hundred I scored will play a role in a winning cause as we have fought hard to get something and it’s a matter of another day,” said Azhar.

“There is always something for the bowlers and you have to be on the top of the game and be more focused while playing on such kind of pitches.

“We lost few wickets at very crucial stages as we were going along very well. We were in a situation to get 230-240 lead but we fell a few runs short but still we as a team believe in making efforts and working hard to defend it.

“We need to bowl in right areas as there is something for the spinners as well. This kind of pitch is offering a lot to the spinners.”

Azhar complimented the Sri Lankan bowling which on the slow pitch kept Pakistan on the back foot throughout the day.

“Credit should be given to the Sri Lankan bowlers the way they bowled all days in good areas. They didn’t bowl really a bad bowl throughout the day while we missed building up partnerships. Had we put together two partnerships that could have been better for us,” Azhar said.