Sri Lanka moves to 133-3 at tea in 3rd test
SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Kumar Sangakkara hit a chancy 44th test fifty as Sri Lanka prodded to 133-3 at tea on a flat wicket in the decisive third test against Pakistan on Thursday.
Sangakkara got a huge reprieve on 15 when Indian umpire Sundaram Ravi couldn’t spot that the left-hander had gloved a catch before he was eventually dismissed for 52.
Mahela Jayawardene was unbeaten on 25 with Dinesh Chandimal yet to score.
Sri Lanka, leading 1-0 in the series, lost its opener Kaushal Silva for 17 in the first session after captain Angelo Mathews won the toss and elected to bat on a grassless wicket.
Left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman, one of the three changes made by Pakistan after trailing 1-0 in the series, struck in the first over after the break when Dimuth Karunaratne (34) played a lose drive and Younis Khan held on to a low catch in the slip.
Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene were tied down by Rehman in adding 50 runs as the left-armer bowled tidy 15 overs in the second session.
Sangakkara reached his fifty off 101 balls with five fours when he elegantly drove Junaid Khan straight to the boundary but one ball later he flicked a simple catch to mid-wicket.
Jayawardene, who scored a century in Sri Lanka’s big nine-wicket win at Dubai, played cautiously and in a rare aggression lofted Rehman over his head for a big six to guide Sri Lanka past 100.
Earlier, Karunaratne and Silva survived the first hour and put on 31 runs before Mohammad Talha got the breakthrough immediately after he switched bowling ends.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq brought in off-spinner Saeed Ajmal in only the 10th over of the innings in a hope to get the early breakthrough after Khan and Talha could not extract any movement off the flat pitch.
Ajmal thought he had Karunaratne leg before wicket on 14 in his third over, but Pakistan wasted one of its two referrals when television umpire Bruce Oxenford upheld the onfield umpire’s not out decision.
Karunaratne was unruffled by the short pitched deliveries but was lucky to get a top edged six off Khan as the left-hander opened up after a cautious start to his innings and guided Sri Lanka to 64-1 at lunch.
Pakistan brought in Rehman in place of the injured Bilawal Bhatti while fast bowler Talha got his second test after nearly five years, replacing Rahat Ali.
Talha played his only previous test against Sri Lanka in 2009 at Lahore, when gunmen attacked the visitors’ team bus and killed six police officials and a van driver.
Pakistan also dropped Mohammad Hafeez, who scored only one half century in four innings, and brought in Azhar Ali for his first match of the series.
Sri Lanka awarded a test cap to 31-year-old Dilruwan Perera, who replaced fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep.