Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Pallekele
PALLEKELE: Sri Lanka will be banking on spinner Tharindu Kaushal for an early breakthrough before the second new ball when play resumes on the fifth day of the third and final Test against Pakistan at the Pallekele International Stadium.
Pakistan ended the fourth day within winning distance by scoring 230 for two wickets and require to score a further 147 runs with eight wickets in hand for a historic run chase in their history.
A win also clinch Pakistan the three-Test series which stands at one-all.
“When the ball was hard, the seamers had something for them from the pitch. But after about 30 overs, there wasn’t much for them,” said Dinesh Chandimal at the end of the day.
“The seam movement disappeared. In the last hour and a half, and we saw quite a bit of turn from PHT Kaushal. We’ve got 20 overs before the second new ball. We’re hoping Kaushal will get us two or three wickets before that.”
Pakistan resume with Shan Masood on 115 and Younis Khan on 101 as they try to extend their 217-run third wicket partnership to match winning proportions.
Chandimal said Sri Lanka thought the target of 377 runs was enough for them to bowl Pakistan out although they were in fact aiming for a lead of 400.
“At the start we thought if we could put 300 on the board, we could win the match. But after my partnership with Angelo (Mathews), we thought, ‘No, we can go to 400’. That way we could completely lock them out of the match,” said Chandimal.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t get to 400. But 376 is a great total, and what should be a winning total in the fourth innings. There’s one more day to play, and we’re hoping to get a couple of wickets in the morning and move towards victory.”
Chandimal said that the present needs to adjust to play without stars like Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene and get out of tight situations like the one they are up against.
“Kumar aiya and Mahela aiya are very experienced cricketers, who’ve played for a long time. Usually we get a lot of great ideas from them,” said Chandimal.
“But this team is very young and we do have a lot of good ideas and youngsters with a lot of talent. We need to figure out how to hide our weaknesses and win for our country. We’re hopeful we can do that as a young team.”
AFP picture by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi