Sri Lanka strikes after a 223-run lead

Sri Lanka strikes after a 223-run lead

Sri Lanka strikes after a 223-run lead

Written by News 1st

10 Jan, 2014 | 3:21 pm

The events that unfolded on the morning of the third day told Pakistan what could have been had their wicket-keeper Sarfaraz Ahmed not dropped Angelo Mathews off Rahat Ali the previous evening. The Sri Lanka captain had been on five at the time, his partnership with Mahela Jayawardene was 12 and their lead was 74. Rahat drew a similar edge from Mathews this morning, before the batsman had added to his overnight score, and Sarfaraz dived to his right to successfully take the catch.

Pakistan went on to dismiss Sri Lanka by taking six wickets for 70 runs in the first session. Between those edges from Mathews, however, he had moved to 42 and his partnership with Mahela Jayawardene had grown to 93, swelling Sri Lanka’s lead towards 200. By the time the visitors were out for 388, 20 minutes before lunch in an extended session, their advantage was such that Pakistan required an escape act similar to what Sri Lanka pulled off to save the Abu Dhabi Test.

Those prospects took a hit in the last over before the break, when Herath got the ball to rip and bounce sharply away from Ahmed Shehzad’s front-foot prod, grazing the outside edge on its way into Prasanna Jayawardene’s gloves. Sri Lanka trooped off the field a merry bunch, their bowlers beginning to drive home the advantage earned by Mahela’s century.

With Mathews gone early, Mahela had batted with more urgency and cut Rahat to the point boundary to move past Steve Waugh into No. 8 on the list of highest run-scorers in Tests. His partner, Prasanna Jayawardene, did not last long. Junaid Khan got one to straighten on the right-hander from over the wicket and went between bat and pad to chip the top of off stump.

Herath began to bat with some spunk and exchanged words with Junaid after top-edging a pull over the wicketkeeper, but a misjudgement of a single and a direct hit from Rahat on his follow through cut short his innings.

With Sri Lanka 348 for 7, Mahela began to pull and chip over the infield and also farm strike. He welcomed Saeed Ajmal with a sweep to the boundary but when he tried to play the reverse in the offspinner’s second over, he missed and was bowled, having added 23 to his overnight score. The dismissal ended a 77.2-over wicket drought for Ajmal.

Pakistan lost Bilawal Bhatti to a hamstring niggle shortly after he bowled Shaminda Eranga, who scored 14 after being dropped on eight by Mohammad Hafeez at slip, but the rest of the attack gradually worked its way through the Sri Lankan tail.

CricInfo

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