Tough ask for Sri Lanka
When Pakistan set Sri Lanka 492 for victory, it was a big ask and a
target never before achieved in the history of the game and whether the
Lankan batsmen can get there and rewrite the record books, or succumb
only when the final ball is bowled today could tell.
At the close Sri Lanka had lost 3 for 183 and require another to 309
to get to cricketís promised land. If there is a will there is a way, it
is said and there is no reason why the Lankan batsmen cannot do it. What
they got to do is believe in themselves and play that way, then the
impossible could be made possible.
At the wickets are Kumar Sangakkara on 50 and Thilan Samaraweera 20
and at the moment things donít look rosy. But it must be remembered that
the days of cricketing miracles are still not over.
The wicket, although on the slow side has behaved well so far, but
itís only natural that it will be spin friendly on the final day and
assist the Pakistani spinners Sohaib Malik, Saeed Ajmal and Danesh
The Lankan batsmen must not be overawed by the presence of these
three spinners. They are also human and if the batsmen use correct
batting techniques to counter them, they can be made to look ordinary.
The morning session today could be crucial. The batsmen must take it
session by session and move on from there, remembering that a match is
not won or lost till the final ball is bowled.
In their victory bid Sri Lanka has lost Malinda Warnapura for 31 and
Tharanga Paravitharne for a well played 73 which had 5 boundaries.
Warnapura was taken at leg slip by Malik off Kaneira and Paranawitharne
at short leg by Alam off Malik.
The wickets were lost at 83 and 139. At 155 Sri Lanka lost the vital
wicket of Mahela Jayawardena for 2 caught at the second attempt by
keeper Akmal off Kaneira.
The first session belonged to the Pakistanis who added a further125
runs for the loss of four wickets before Younus Khan applied the closure
just after lunch at 425 for 9.
Shoaib Malik who was unbeaten on a majestic 106 added another 28 runs
before he was out brilliantly caught by substitute fielder Suraj Randiv
diving at deep mid off.
Before Malik, Kamran Akmal who showed his capabilities with the
willow smacking a grand 60 on the previous day was first to go at 319
when he was brilliantly held by Jayawardena in the slips off Kulasekera
It was nice too see Umer Gul using the long handle and breezing away
to make a quick 46 before offering Chaminda Vaas a running catch at
square leg off Herath. He had three big sixes and three fours in his
Danesh Kaneira who was reprimanded dollied at catch to Mirando
fielding at mid off off Herath for 5 and then after taking lunch at 410
for 9, Khan asked Mohammed Amer to have a go and the youngster obliged
clouting three fours and a six before calling a halt at 425 for 9.
The Lankans were set 492 for victory in five sessions of play.
During the Pakistani batting rampage, with no other spinner to
support him, Left arm spinner Rangana Herath gallantly stuck to his task
bowling a marathon spell of 46 overs and was rewarded with 5 wickets for
157.His second five wicket haul in the series.
The Pakistani 425 was built around three partnerships of 119 for the
fifth wicket between Misbah and Malik,133 between Malik and Akmal and 52
between Malik and Gul.
After their poor batting efforts in the First Two Tests, it was nice
to see the front line Pakistani batsmen, bat the way we know they can.
How they failed to do likewise earlier was inexplicable.
PAKISTAN 2ND INNINGS (overnight 300-5):
Khurram Manzoor b Herath 2
Fawad Alam c and b Thushara 16
Younus Khan lbw b Kulasekera 19
Mohammad Yousuf c Sangakkara b Herath 23
Misbah-ul Haq c Sangakkara b Mathews 65
Shoaib Malik c sub (Lakmal) b Herath 134
Kamran Akmal c Jayawardene b Kulasekera 74
Umar Gul c Vaas b Herath 46
Danish Kaneria c Thushara b Herath 5
Mohammad Aamer not out 22
Saeed Ajmal not out 3
Extras: (b10, lb2, nb2, w2) 16
Total (for 9 wkts decl, 123 overs) 425
Fall of wickets: 1-16 (Manzoor), 2-22 (Alam), 3-54 (Younus), 4-67 (Yousuf),
5-186 (Misbah), 6-319 (Akmal), 7-371 (Malik), 8-399 (Gul), 9-405 (Kaneria).
Bowling: Kulasekera 20-5-55-2 (w1), Thushara 28-2-121-1 (nb2, w1),
Herath 46-6-157-5, Vaas 19-6-47-0, Mathews 10-1-33-1
SRI LANKA 2ND INNINGS:
T. Paranavitana c Alam b Malik 73
M. Warnapura c Malik b Kaneria 31
K. Sangakkara not out 50
M. Jayawardene c Akmal b Kaneria 2
T. Samaraweera not out 20
Extras: (lb5, nb2) 7
Total (for 3 wkts, 59 overs) 183
To bat: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Angelo Mathews, Rangana Herath, Chaminda Vaas, Thilan Thushara, Nuwan Kulasekera.
Fall of wickets: 1-83 (Warnapura), 2-139 (Paranavitana), 3-155 (Jayawardene).
Bowling: Gul 6-0-27-0 (nb1), Aamer 9-0-20-0, Younus 3-0-16-0, Ajmal 16-1-36-0, Malik 9-1-23-1 (nb1), Kaneria 16-1-56-2.