Azhar Ali scored a half century in the top order before Pakistan lost their way on the second day of the third Test against Sri Lanka at Pallekele, AFP picture by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi

Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Pallekele

PALLEKELE: Pakistan believe that the decisive third and final Test against Sri Lanka was still wide open and that they could still bounce back from the position they are in at the end of the second day at the Pallekele International Stadium.

Pakistan finished the day on 209-9 in reply to Sri Lanka’s first innings of 278.

“This Test match is still open and the more we go closer to their score it will eventually increase our chances to pull it our way,” said Azhar Ali who scored a half-century.

“The third innings is always important and if we manage to get them early we are capable of turning things around as we did in Galle. There is plenty of time in the match and we are positive about everything. From tomorrow it will be a new day and we look forward to it.”

Azhar said Pakistan would try to exploit the absence of the big names in the Sri Lankan team to win the Test.

“We still have a chance to beat Sri Lanka and try to exploit the absence of big names in their team but at the same time whoever is playing in their place are also very good players representing their country,” said Azhar.

“Its Test cricket and whoever plays is very good and we are applying ourselves with full strength to beat them but we have to be on top of our game.”

Azhar said that Pakistan’s inability to put together big partnerships was a big disappointment.

“We could not execute ourselves to convert the smaller partnerships into bigger ones that was the major problem we faced today.

“It’s not that the wicket wasn’t good it is equally good for bating and bowling but each one has to apply and has to work hard to get the best out of it.

“Sri Lanka bowled in the right areas this time again otherwise it is still a very good Test pitch as it has everything for everyone. The main point we lacked today was not building big partnerships otherwise it could have been a different scenario.”