A mouthwatering day of Test cricket ended with a wicket off the final delivery when Babar Azam was strangled down the leg side off the bowling of Nuwan Pradeep as the game was evenly poised with Pakistan on 266/4 in reply to Sri Lanka’s 419 all out.
Pakistan resuming day 3 on 64/0, had to fight a quality opening spell from Suranga Lakmal and Lakshan Sandakan as the first 10 overs yielded only 18 runs, but more importantly Pakistan did not a lose a wicket. The Sri Lankan bowlers soon started to feel the scorching heat in Abu Dhabi as the Pakistani opening stand crossed the 100 run mark with both left handed openers, Sami Aslam and Shan Masood making half centuries.
Aslam tried to stay back to a rather full delivery when Sri Lanka finally broke through with the score on 114. Aslam was trapped in front by Dilruwan Perera but umpire Nigel Llong initially ruled it not out before skipper Dinesh Chandimal made a successful review. Perera almost struck again when Azhar Ali was given out in the same over only for Pakistan to have a successful review this time around. Sri Lanka though didn’t have to wait too long for success as the wily old Rangana Herath clean bowled Masood around his legs for 59 as Pakistan went into the lunch break at 121/2.
The post lunch session was dominated by the two most experienced batsmen in the Pakistan line up Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq, as they made sure Pakistan did not lose a wicket throughout the session. They put on 79 runs for the third wicket before Shafiq was eventually dismissed right after the tea break off the bowling of Rangana Herath for a fighting 39 off 119 balls.
Ali didn’t let his guard down after the dismissal of Shafiq. He went through the grind to reach his half century off 139 balls inclusive of just one boundary. He found an able partner in Babar Azam as the duo put on a valuable 71 run stand as Pakistan seemed like they would start day 4 for the loss of just 3 wickets. But with three balls to go of the final over of the day, Azam tried to flick a ball on his legs, only to be strangled down the leg side to leave the game even poised come day four.
Rangana Herath ended the day with two wickets for Sri Lanka while Dilruwan Perera and Nuwan Pradeep picked up the other two wickets to fall on a long and tiring day for the Sri Lankan bowlers.
SL 1ST INNINGSPAK 1ST INNINGS