Pakistani spinners grabbed 4 wickets in the final session to take the upper hand going into the 5th and final day tomorrow. Sri Lanka will resume play tomorrow with 69 for 4 on board in their second innings.
Pakistan resumed play with 266 for 4 on board, trailing by 153 runs in their first innings. Debutant Haris Sohail joined Azhar Ali who was well set after reaching his half century yesterday. It was a vital session for both sides but the islanders who took the upper hand in the first session. Azhar Ali was the first fall for 85 when Rangana Herath broke through but credit should be given to substitute fielder Sadeera Samarawickrama who grabbed a stunner at mid wicket.
Sarfraz Ahmed came in and tried to up the ante. His positive stroke play cost him his wicket as he chopped one off Suranga Lakmal. The wickets kept on coming for the Lankans, Suranga Lakmal trapping Mohommed Amir right in front through a beautiful in-swinger. Pakistan had their backs on the wall and heading towards the lunch break they were under a lot of pressure. On the stroke of lunch, Yasir Shah was undone by some beautiful bowling by veteran Rangana Herath. The 1st session was dominated by Sri Lanka who grabbed 4 wickets for just 74 runs.
Second session of the day started off with Sri Lanka needing just two wickets to wrap up the innings. Haris Sohail was stuck in the crease with the tail enders needing 79 runs to wave off the deficit. In a game where stroke making was hard, no 10 batsman Hasan Ali scored a brilliant cameo of 29 runs off 25 balls. He showed intent as he hit three huge sixes in his exciting knock. Herath got the better of him at the end and with this wicket he completed his 32nd 5 wicket hauls in his illustrious career.
Pakistan were still trailing by 29 runs and Sri Lankans would have taken that lead given the fact how dead the wicket has been for the last two days. But Haris Sohail and last man Mohommad Abbas put on 32 runs for the last wicket which helped Pakistan take a slender lead of 3 runs. Haris Sohail was the last man to fall but he was the highlight of the innings with his composed 76 runs under pressure.
Sri Lankans came on to bat for their second innings after the tea break. The openers did not stutter against the two new ball bowlers but as soon as the spinners came on, then came the collapse. The pitch was starting to crack open and the ball started assisting the Pakistani spinners. Dimuth Karunaratne was the first victim to spin. He was given out caught off the pad by Shan Masood at short leg. However, the replays showed daylight between bat and ball but Dimuth refused to review it.
Thirimanne after a horrible stroke in the first innings which cost him his wicket, failed to make a notable contribution in the second innings as he was caught behind to the bowling of Asad Shafiq. Asad Sahfiq was asked finish up Hasan Ali’s over after he walked off with a hamstring niggle. Sarfraz Ahamed saw the opening and he pounced on the opportunity. He used his spinners well which put the brakes on the Sri Lankan innings. With an hour left to play in the day, Kaushal Silva threw his wicket away after scoring 25 hard fought runs when he tried to sweep against the spin and it was the debut-ant Haris Sohail who broke through.
Pakistan were well and truly in the game and the wickets just kept on coming. The centurion from the first innings skipper Dinesh Chandimal was the last to fall for the day for just 7 runs. It was once again to the wrist spin of Yasir Shah who used the wearing pitch into good effect. Suranga Lakmal was sent in as the night watchman and he survived until the stumps. Kusal Mendis was unbeaten on 16 at the other end. Surely the match is in favor of the Pakistani’s. Sri Lanka will have to bat well if they are to turn things around.