Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Pallekele
PALLEKELE: Sri Lanka bowlers came back strongly in the rain affected final session to capture five wickets and have Pakistan struggling at 209 for nine wickets by the close of the second day of the third and final Test played at the Pallekele International Stadium.
Pakistan trailed Sri Lanka by 69 runs with only Sarfraz Ahmed standing in the way of narrowing that gap.
The busy Pakistan wicket-keeper was unbeaten on 72 scored off 94 balls with six fours. It was his seventh Test fifty and sixth against Sri Lanka.
Pakistan’s batting suffered a lot from the frequent interruptions to the weather – there were three in all, as they lost a wicket each time the game was restarted.
They lost the wicket of Asad Shafiq after the first interruption, then Azhar Ali and finally Rahat Ali in the final session.
Amdist the fall of these wickets Sarfraz continued to play a game of attack and defence to deny Sri Lanka a big lead in the first innings.
Pakistan’s batting was tested by the probing deliveries of the fast bowlers who played on their patience by sticking to bowling a tight line and length. The ploy paid off handsomely for Sri Lanka as the batsmen succumbed to it.
With tea being taken early following an interruption to rain, the final session was extended till past six when bad light eventually ended play.
But it was enough for Sri Lanka to grab five wickets including that of Azhar Ali for 52 and out of form skipper Misbah-ul-Haq for six.
Nuwan Pradeep and Tharindu Kaushal picked up two apiece and Prasad’s dismissal of Yasir Shah was his 50th Test wicket.
Batting with Sarfraz at the close was Imran Khan who had his first knock in the middle in five Tests unbeaten on nought.
Sri Lanka will be well pleased the way the day has gone for them in this series deciding Test.
SRI LANKA 1ST INNINGS
D Karunaratne st Sarfraz b Azhar 130
K Silva c Sarfraz b Rahat 9
U Tharanga c Younis b Yasir 46
L Thirimanne c sub (Azam) b Yasir 11
A Mathews c sub (Azam) b Yasir 3
J Mubarak st Sarfraz b Yasir 25
D Chandimal lbw b Rahat 24
D Prasad c Yasir b Azhar 0
T Kaushal lbw b Rahat 18
S Lakmal not out 6
N Pradeep lbw b Yasir 0
Extras (lb-3, w-3) 6
Total (all out, 89.5 overs) 278
Fall of wickets: 1-15 (Silva), 2-106 (Tharanga), 3-133 (Thirimanne), 4-137 (Mathews), 5-204 (Mubarak), 6-248 (Karunaratne), 7-248 (Prasad), 8-264 (Chandimal), 10-278 (Pradeep).
Bowling: Rahat 21-4-74-3 (w1), Adil 14-3-37-0 (w1), Imran 16-3-51-0 (w1), Yasir 31.5-4-78-5, Azhar 7-0-35-2.
PAKISTAN 1ST INNINGS
Shan Masood lbw b Prasad 13
Ahmed Shehzad c Chandimal b Pradeep 21
Azhar Ali c Karunaratne b Pradeep 52
Younis Khan run out 3
Asad Shafiq lbw b Prasad 15
Sarfraz Ahmed not out 72
Misbah-ul-Haq lbw b Pradeep 6
Ehsan Adil lbw b Kaushal 0
Yasir Shah c Chandimal b Prasad 18
Rahat Ali lbw b Kaushal 2
Imran Khan not out 0
Extras (lb-4, nb-2) 6
Total (9 wickets at close, 64 overs) 209
Fall of wickets: 1-32 (Masood), 2-40 (Shehzad), 3-45 (Younis), 4-91 (Shafiq), 5-135 (Azhar), 6-151 (Misbah), 7-152 (Ehsan), 8-197 (Yasir), 9-202 (Rahat).
Bowling: Prasad 19-1-78-3 (w1), Lakmal 14-1-64-0 (nb2), Pradeep 14-5-26-3, Mathews 4-1-3-0, Kaushal 13-1-34-2.
AFP picture by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi