Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Pallekele
PALLEKELE: Pakistan compensated for their poor batting display in the first innings with an outstanding effort from their third wicket pair Shan Masood and Younis Khan who hit centuries apiece as they shared an unbroken double century partnership to put Pakistan well within reach of chasing down the target of 377 set by Sri Lanka in the decisive third and final Test played at the Pallekele International Stadium.
Pakistan ended the fourth day at 230 for two wickets with Masood unbeaten on 114 and Younis on 101 and require a further 147 runs on the final day to win and clinch the three-Test series 2-1.
Masood playing only his fifth Test match reached his maiden hundred in style with a six off spinner Tharindu Kaushal. It took him 172 balls and comprised one six and ten fours.
Younis followed suit in the last over of the day reaching his 30th Test hundred and his eighth against Sri Lanka off 165 balls with nine fours – a chanceless effort.
Sri Lanka were rewarded with only the wickets of Ahmed Shehzad (0) and Azhar Ali (5) in the first 33 minutes of the afternoon but after that it was the Masood-Younis show for the rest of the day. They played the Lankan bowling with ease on a pitch that had settled down and hardly offered any assistance to the bowlers.
Sri Lanka tried everything to break the partnership with skipper Angelo Mathews ringing the bowling changes but Masood and Younis stood rock solid and the ball hardly passed their bats.
Both batsmen were positive in their approach and never allowed the bowlers to get on top of them rotating the strike constantly so that the field had to keep changing for the right-left combination.
The nearest Sri Lanka came to breaking the partnership was when Masood on 79 survived a close lbw appeal which Sri Lanka on reviewing lost. Masood was given not out off Mathews but the review stayed with the umpire’s decision as there was no conclusive evidence to overturn the decision although replays did not show the batsmen getting bat to ball before it hit the pad.
Earlier Angelo Mathews scored his fifth Test hundred as Sri Lanka made 313 in their second innings.
SRI LANKA 1ST INNINGS 278
PAKISTAN 1ST INNINGS 215
SRI LANKA 2ND INNINGS
D Karunaratne b Rahat 10
K Silva c Misbah b Adil 3
U Tharanga c Azhar b Yasir 48
L Thirimanne b Rahat 0
A Mathews c Sarfraz b Imran 122
J Mubarak c Azhar b Yasir 35
D Chandimal lbw b Imran 67
D Prasad c Sarfraz b Imran 0
T Kaushal c Sarfraz b Imran 8
S Lakmal c Sarfraz b Imran 0
N Pradeep not out 4
Extras (b-4, lb-9, w-3) 16
Total (all out, 95.4 overs) 313
Fall of wickets: 1-12 (Karunaratne), 2-22 (Silva), 3-35 (Thirimanne), 4-80 (Tharanga), 5-161 (Mubarak), 6-278 (Chandimal), 7-278 (Prasad), 8-290 (Kaushal), 9-306 (Lakmal), 10-313 (Mathews).
Bowling: Rahat 21-3-82-2 (w1), Adil 17-4-66-1 (w1), Imran 20.4-3-58-5 (w1), Yasir 32-7-80-2, Azhar 5-1-14-0.
PAKISTAN 2ND INNINGS
Shan Masood not out 114
Ahmed Shehzad b Lakmal 0
Azhar Ali c Chandimal b Prasad 5
Younis Khan not out 101
Extras (lb-6, w-1, nb-3) 10
Total (2 wickets at close, 63 overs) 230
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Shehzad), 2-13 (Azhar).
Bowling: Prasad 13-2-42-1, Lakmal 12-2-34-1 (nb3), Pradeep 10-2-32-0 (w1), Mathews 6-1-15-0, Kaushal 20-1-92-0, Mubarak 2-0-9-0.