Final-day thriller on the cards

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Pakistan responded brilliantly with the bat after Dhananjaya de Silva’s hundred helped Sri Lanka set a huge target on day four of the second Test in Galle.

It was the partnership between Dimuth Karunaratne and Dhananjaya de Silva late on day three that bailed Sri Lanka out of trouble from 117/5. On day four, the pair continued to pile on the runs as they dealt with everything Pakistan had to throw at them.

Both the batters were resolute in their defence in their opening exchanges, opting to rotate strike regularly instead of searching for boundaries. Skipper Karunaratne joined Sri Lanka’s elite 6000-run club early in the day, becoming the sixth batter from the nation to do so.

Once they got their eye in, the boundaries started to flow regularly. Dhananjaya brought up the 100-run stand for the sixth wicket with a four through mid-wicket. The very next over, Karunaratne got to his 31st Test fifty. His fellow batting partner wasn’t to be left behind as he too got to the milestone a few overs later.

It needed something special to break the resolute stand and Abdullah Shafique pulled off a stunning catch at short leg to end the skipper’s resistance. Dunith Wellalage departed for 18, but a flurry of boundaries from the bat of Dhananjaya meant Sri Lanka managed to add 121 runs to their overnight score before lunch.

At the break, Sri Lanka had a lead of 444 runs, but given the memorable chase of 342 Pakistan pulled off in the first Test, the hosts decided to continue batting in the afternoon session.

Dhananjaya de Silva got to his 9th Test century in style with a boundary. At the other end, Ramesh Mendis landed a few heavy blows – including three consecutive fours against Hasan Ali – to take the lead past 500. A direct hit from Yasir Shah ended the centurion’s innings as Sri Lanka finally called for a declaration, setting Pakistan a target of 508.

In reply Pakistan started their innings with intent. Both Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq were amongst the boundaries. 

It took a great catch from Wellalage to dismiss the in-form Shafique. Despite the wicket, Pakistan maintained a healthy run rate, courtesy of the free-flowing strokes from Imam and Babar Azam, who once again walked out to bat at No.3.

The two batters ensured Sri Lankan spinner didn’t inflict any more damage, as they batted cautiously into tea.

Just as the game was approaching the final hour of play, bad light once again played spoilsport as the players were forced off the pitch. No play was possible thereafter as umpires called early stumps.

Sri Lanka 1st innings 378 all out

Sri Lanka 2nd innings

N. Dickwella c M. Rizwan b N. Shah                15

O. Fernando lbw Y. Shah                   19

K. Mendis lbw M. Nawaz                    15

A. Mathews c B. Azam b A. Salman                35

D. Chandimal c M. Rizwan b N. Shah             21

D. Karunaratne c A. Shafique b N. Ali             61

D. de Silva Run Out (Yasir Shah)                     109

D. Wellalage c M. Rizwan b M. Nawaz            18

R. Mendis Not Out                                               45

Extras: (13b 3lb 5nb 0pen 1w)                        22

Total: (91.5 overs) for 8 wickets decl.             360  

Fall of Wickets: 1-27 Dickwella, 2-47 Fernando, 3-59 Mendis, 4-100 Mathews, 5-117 Chandimal, 6-243 Karunaratne, 7-278 Wellalage, 8-360 de Silva

Bowling: Naseem Shah 12.5-1-44-2, Yasir Shah 21-2-80-1, Mohammad Nawaz 21-4-75-2, Nauman Ali 14-0-54-1, Agha Salman 12-2-41-1

Pakistan 1st innings 231 all out

Pakistan 2nd innings

A. Shafique c D. Wellalage b P. Jayasuriya   16

I. ul-Haq Not Out                                  46

B. Azam Not Out                                  26

Extras: (0b 0lb 1nb 0pen 0w) 01

Total: (28.0 overs) 89-1

Fall of Wickets: 1-42 Shafique

Bowling: Prabath Jayasuriya 13-1-46-1