Pakistan’s batsmen bounced back after their first-innings debacle to throw open the second Test against Sri Lanka at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo on Thursday.
The tourists, who conceded a lead of 177 runs after being dismissed for 138 in the first-innings, closed the third day’s play at 171-2 in their second time of asking.
When bad light halted play an hour early, Pakistan trailed by just six runs with eight wickets in hand, promising a keen tussle between bat and ball over the next two days.
Sri Lanka, looking for a series-levelling win after losing the first Test in Galle, removed Mohammad Hafeez cheaply for eight before lunch, caught in the slips by Kumar Sangakkara off Angelo Mathews.
But any fears of Pakistan being bundled out as cheaply as they were in the first innings were allayed by a 120-run stand between opener Ahmed Shehzad and Azhar Ali.
Shehzad was dismissed off the first ball after tea for 69, top-edging a hook off Dhammika Prasad behind to keeper Dinesh Chandimal, but Younus Khan joined Azhar to put on 42 for the unbroken third wicket.
Azhar was unbeaten on 64 and Younus, determined to make his 100th match special after falling for six in the first innings, closed the day on 23.
Sri Lanka, who resumed at their overnight score of 304-9 after a delayed start due to bad weather, were dismissed for 315 in their first innings.
Leg-spinner Yasir Shah — who had claimed seven wickets in Sri Lanka’s second innings at Galle in the first Test — finished with figures of 6-96 after last man Dushmantha Chameera was caught superbly by Younus running back from the slips, leaving Rangana Herath unbeaten on 18.
Sri Lanka were dealt a scare in the field when Chameera, the debutant seamer, went off the field in the morning session after bowling just nine deliveries. However, he returned after lunch to bowl seven more overs and conceded 28 runs without any success.
Veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath was also wicket-less in 14 overs, while Prasad returned with 1-46 from 13.3 overs.
Sangakkara to retire during India series in August
Sri Lanka batting great Kumar Sangakkara ended speculation about his future, saying he will retire during the home series against India in August.
“This is my time to call it a day,” the 37-year-old told reporters on the sidelines of the second Test against Pakistan.
The left-hander said he will play two of the three Tests against India that will take place in Sri Lanka in August.
Sangakkara, the current world leading Test run-getter, said he will also skip the third and final Test of the ongoing series against Pakistan starting in Pallekele on July 3.
“I wanted to retire after the World Cup, but was requested by the selectors to stay on,” he said. “I agreed to play four more Tests.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2015.
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