Pakistan Graft For 107-Run Lead
Pakistan managed to bat through the fourth day of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Dubai despite losing the wickets of Younus Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq to lead by 107 runs at stumps.
Misbah fell for 97 and Younus for 77 but with Sarfraz Ahmed unbeaten on 70, Pakistan closed the day on 330 for seven in their second innings.
With bad light closing in, Sri Lanka did all they could to try to keep the game going by bowling Kumar Sangakkara but Pakistan held firm and play ended early despite Sri Lanka's best efforts.
Pakistan resumed 91 runs adrift on 132 for three and it wasn't long before Sri Lanka finally broke the Younus-Misbah partnership that was eventually worth 129.
Younus tried to cut Suranga Lakmal but played the shot poorly and was caught by Prasanna Jayawardene.
Misbah then added 52 for the fifth wicket with Asad Shafiq (23) as Pakistan closed in on an overall lead but they were 200 for five when Shafiq edged Shaminda Eranga to Dimuth Karunaratne at second slip, Sri Lanka striking with the new ball.
Misbah looked as if nothing would shift him, however, and with him and Sarfraz Ahmed building another solid partnership, Pakistan took the lead.
Just three runs short of a century, Misbah fell when he was bowled by Rangana Herath. It was an excellent delivery, drifting in and spinning away from Misbah and beating his defence. In all, he faced 248 balls, hitting eight fours and a six and now boasts an average of 59.4 as captain - second only to one Sir Don Bradman among those to have captained their country more than 20 times.
Still, if Sri Lanka thought that by removing Misbah they would quickly wrap up the rest of the innings, they were being optimistic.
Sarfraz joined forces with Bilawal Bhatti to add 67 for the sixth wicket and Bhatti, after a quickfire start, settled down to make 33 in 75 balls. He was unlucky when he was dismissed, defending a delivery from Eranga, only to see the ball roll onto the stumps and dislodge the leg bail.
It was a cruel way to go and Sri Lanka were delighted, but with Sarfraz defying them at the other end, closing on 70 not out in 123 balls, and Saeed Ajmal looking no less determined at the other, on seven, an intriguing final day remains in prospect after they could make no further breakthroughs.
© Cricket World 2014