Rain interruptions over the past two days have meant that not even one innings each could be completed in the second test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, which began on Saturday. On Monday, a mere 27 overs could be bowled, as against 90 on a normal day. On Monday, rains came down at the stroke of lunch. A brief respite raised hopes of a revival – and one was even announced for 3-45 pm. But the rains came down again at 3-30 pm again, foreclosing the idea of resuming the game.
Sri Lanka survived an anxious hour ahead of lunch on Day 3 of the second test, as Pakistan’s young pace bowlers probed away with some help from the conditions. At lunch, Sri Lanka was 70 for the loss of opener Tharanga Paranavitana (0).
Pakistan got the early breakthrough they were looking for when Paranavitana defended a length ball onto his thigh pad in the fourth over. Azhar Ali at forward shortleg gladly accepted the offering. Dilshan (46 batting) at one end kept raising hopes of a second Sri Lankan wicket, repeatedly edging, and the catches falling short of the slip cordon. One dropped short off the wicket keeper and first slip; another just short of third slip. Though shaky, the Sri Lankan top order put on the 50 runs on board in quick time. Dilshan and Sangakkara (22 batting) have so far added 59 runs for the second wicket.
Earlier, Pakistan had declared after adding 63 to the overnight score of 488. With 551 on board, Pakistan began to attack the Sri Lankan top order. That meant that a few runs more were given away. Sri Lanka are scoring at just over 4.6 runs an over; the last 10 overs went for 5.5 runs an over each. But there is a long way ahead: Sri Lanka now trail by 481 runs with nine wickets remaining.
The last time Pakistan won after making over 500, was in Bangalore, against India in 2004. The Pakistani spinners won that match.
For Sri Lanka, the quick loss of Paranavitana has again ignited the debate for a stable opening partner for Dilshan. Paranavitana did himself no favours in Galle, and will possibly get one test more before pressure piles on the Sri Lankan selectors to replace the 30-year-old batsman with his younger colleague in the sidelines, Lahiru Thirimanne.
Pakistan (1st innings): M. Hafeez b Herath 196, T.Umar c P.Jayawardene b Mathews 65, A. Ali c Kulasekara b Randiv 157, Younis Khan lbw Herath 32, Misbah-ul-Haq (not out) 66, A.Shafiq (run out) 2, A.Akmal c Dilshan b Herath 5, A.Rehman (not out) 18 . Extras: (lb 5, w 1, nb 4) 10. Total (for six wickets in 147 overs): 551.
Fall of Wickets: 1-78, 2-365, 3-435, 4-486, 5-491, 6-519.
Sri Lanka bowling: Kulasekera 27-6-84-0, Mathews 15-1-55-1, Pradeep 24-3-103-0, Randiv 31-0-131-1, Herath 49-5-164-3, Dilshan 1-0-9-0.
Sri Lanka (1st innings): T.Paranavitana c Ali b J.Khan 0, T.M.Dilshan (batting) 46, K.Sangakkara (batting) 22. Extras (lb 2) 2. Total (for the loss of 1 wicket in 15 overs): 70
Fall of Wickets: 1-11.
Pakistan bowling: Cheema 6-1-31-0, J.Khan 6-1-22-1, Ajmal 2-0-11-0, Rehman 1-0-4-0.
Keywords: Sri Lanka-Pakistan Test cricket