PALLAKELE: Pakistan were within 56 runs of beating Sri Lanka in the third and final Test and clinching the three-match series 2-1 when they went to lunch at 321 for three wickets on the fifth and final day at the Pallekele International Stadium.
The total is already Pakistan’s highest in the fourth innings of a successful run chase, their previous highest being 315-9 against Australia at Karachi in 1994.
Younis Khan has been the biggest stumbling block to Sri Lanka making inroads into the Pakistani middle-order playing a patient innings of 142 not out off 237 balls with 13 fours.
Batting with him was another experienced campaigner captain Misbah-ul-Haq on 27.
Sri Lanka’s only success of the morning was the wicket of opener Shan Masood who was stumped by Dinesh Chandimal off Tharindu Kaushal for 125 ending a 242 runs third wicket stand with Younis.
Masood batted 338 minutes and hit 11 fours and a six in his 233-ball knock.
Sri Lanka’s only hope of dismissing Pakistan lay heavily on the second new ball that was taken at the end of 80 overs but apart from a lbw decision against Younis at 128 off Dhammika Prasad that went in favour of the batsman the Lankan fast bowlers could hardly make any impression on the pitch which had slowed down and lost whatever nip and turn it had on the first three days.
Pakistan last won a Test series in Sri Lanka in 2006 under the leadership of Inzamam-ul-Haq when they triumphed 1-0 in the two-match series.
Scores: Sri Lanka 278 and 313;
Pakistan 215 and 321-3 at lunch (Shan Masood 125, Younis Khan 142 not out, Misbah-ul-Haq 27 not out).