Pakistan holds slim lead over Sri Lanka
GALLE, Sri Lanka (AP) — Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath’s four-wicket haul reduced Pakistan to 153-8 as Sri Lanka pushed for victory on the last day of the first test on Sunday.
Pakistan is 71 runs ahead after conceding an 82-run first innings lead and has to battle out the remaining 32 overs to deny Sri Lanka a memorable win.
The visitors’ hopes rest on Sarfraz Ahmed, who is fighting a grim battle on 29. Shaminda Eranga ran Pakistan into further trouble when he got his 50th test wicket by having Abdul Rehman caught behind in the last over before tea. It was wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella’s fourth catch of the innings.
Herath (4-38) got the wickets of top scorer Azhar Ali (41), Younis Khan (13) and Asad Shafiq (8) while offspinner Dilruwan Perera successfully won an lbw decision through DRS against Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq (28) and was lucky as Ahmed Shehzad (16) didn’t go for the review when he was struck on the pads.
Pakistan paid a heavy price for being too defensive and let both Sri Lanka spinners come out on top after resuming at 4-1 overnight as it lost three wickets in the morning session and added only 62 runs.
Misbah and Ali defied Sri Lanka briefly with a 56-run stand but not before the Pakistan captain twice survived lbw appeals.
He was ruled out leg before wicket off Perera on 8 but successfully overturned umpire Bruce Oxenford’s decision as the ball had brushed his gloves off a mistimed sweep.
Misbah wiped off the deficit by hoisting the offspinner to midwicket for a six before reverse sweeping the offspinner for another boundary. He was on 26 when Eranga went for the DRS but his high full toss hit Misbah’s pads outside the line of leg stump.
However, both batsmen departed within three deliveries when Herath found Ali’s outside edge and Misbah was trapped lbw off the backfoot.
Sri Lanka continued their luck with the DRS when Herath trapped Shafiq lbw off an arm ball before Eranga struck in the last over to keep Sri Lanka’s hopes alive.
Earlier, Pakistan scored only four boundaries in the morning session after nightwatchman Saeed Ajmal (4) was caught behind off Dhammika Prasad in the eighth over of the day.
Khan overtook Sachin Tendulkar (1,995) as highest test run scorer against Sri Lanka when he straight drove Eranga for his second four before he was undone by Herath’s magnificent delivery that hit the top of off stump.
Herath and Perera bowled to a tight line and length as Pakistan found runs hard to come by as Shehzad and Ali focused on protecting their wickets, rather than looking for scoring shots.
Shehzad could have overturned English umpire Ian Gould’s lbw decision against him off Perera, but didn’t use the DRS and walked off after scoring a painstaking 16 off 74 balls.
Television replays clearly indicated the ball would have missed leg stump.