Pakistan fast bowlers Junaid Khan and debutant Bilawal Bhatti made late strikes to leave Sri Lanka on 186-4 on the third day of the first test Thursday an overall lead of seven runs.
Bhatti took the key wickets of Kumar Sangakkara (55) and Mahela Jayawardene (0) off successive deliveries and Khan ended Kaushal Silva’s (81) four-and-a-half-hour brilliant maiden half century in the last over.
Silva and Sangakkara put on 99 runs for the second wicket and brought Sri Lanka within 33 runs of the 179—run first innings deficit before Pakistan’s fast bowlers struck.
Sri Lanka did well in the morning session to cut Pakistan’s lead to 179, claiming the last six wickets for just 56 runs out of a total of 383.
Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath (3-93) finally ended the wicket drought when he took the last three wickets in four balls.
Resuming at the overnight 327-4, captain Misbah-ul-Haq added 30 to his overnight 105 but got little support from the tailenders before he was the last man to be dismissed by Herath.
Misbah faced 306 balls, hitting 16 fours and a six in a marathon knock that lasted just over seven hours.
Sri Lanka, which was bowled out for 204 in the first innings, needed early wickets to keep Pakistan’s lead in check and Suranga Lakmal provided the breakthrough in the fourth over when Asad Shafiq (13) clipped the ball straight to Kaushal Silva at short mid-wicket.
Adnan Akmal (6) and Bhatti (14) also didn’t last long before they edged to Shaminda Eranga (3-80) and Angelo Mathews, respectively. With Misbah quickly losing partners, he tried to score quickly and hit his first six of the innings off Herath over mid-wicket.
But Herath finally managed to tighten the pressure on Pakistan after bowling 34 wicketless overs when he had Saeed Ajmal leg before wicket and then clean bowled Rahat Ali off successive deliveries for noughts.
Khan survived the hat-trick ball, but Herath wrapped up the innings in the next over when Misbah was caught by Kumar Sangakkara on the edge of long-on boundary.
Sri Lanka’s openers Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne added 47 runs and started off confidently against the Pakistan pace trio before left-armer Khan, who took five wickets in the first innings, brought one back sharply into left-hander Karunaratne and knocked back the top of the middle stump.
Pakistan struggled to break through the defenses of Sangakkara, who successfully used a television referral and to overturn a leg before wicket decision off Bhatti when on 29 after on-field umpire Richard Kettleborough had ruled him out.
Silva completed his maiden half century off 113 balls with half a dozen boundaries and Sangakkara soon followed him to the 50-run mark when he cut Bhatti to point boundary for his sixth four.
Silva used his feet well against offspinner Ajmal and both batsmen looked to have dominated the pace attack before Bhatti struck twice and Khan ended Silva’s knock.