Sri Lanka Fight Back, Establish Small Lead
Sri Lanka fought back strongly on day three of the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, and closed seven runs ahead with six second-innings wickets remaining.
Rangana Herath took three wickets in four balls as Pakistan were bowled out for 383 but Sri Lanka, dismissed for just 204 in their first innings, will have been disappointed to lose Kaushal Silva in the final over of the day as they closed on 186 for four.
Silva had made 81 and Kumar Sangakkara scored 55 as the Sri Lankans produced a much-improved batting effort after Pakistan managed just 56 runs before they were bowled out earlier in the day.
They resumed on 327 for four and had added just two runs when Asad Shafiq (13) was caught via a flying Silva at midwicket off the bowling of Suranga Lakmal.
Adnan Akmal made six before lobbing a simple catch to Sachithra Senanayake in the gully as he played a nondescript sort of shot outside off stump to Shaminda Eranga.
Bilawal Bhatti was next to go, caught behind by Prasanna Jayawardene off Angelo Mathews. He had made 14 when the umpire initially ruled in his favour but following an immediate review by the fielders, the decision was overturned.
Left-arm spinner Herath then picked off Saeed Ajmal (0) and Rahat Ali (0) in consecutive deliveries and when he returned for another over, soon ended the innings when Misbah, going for a big hit, found only the safe hands of Sangakkara at long on.
He had made 135 in 306 balls and his vital 218-run partnership with Younus Khan (136) on day two put Pakistan into a clear lead.
Herath finished with three for 93, Eranga three for 80, Lakmal two for 99 and Mathews one for 43 as Pakistan secured a lead of 179.
Sri Lanka began their reply well as openers Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne (24 in 56 balls) put on 47 together.
The consistently impressive Junaid Khan broke the partnership when Karunaratne drove at a ball that was angling in towards his stumps, edging onto his wicket to be bowled.
Silva continued his progress towards a new Test career best alongside Sangakkara, whose 55 in 99 balls was his 43rd half-century. They added 99 together before Sangakkara got a thick edge and was well caught by Younus in the slips.
Silva then played out a maiden and with his next ball, Bhatti got one to lift and had Mahela Jayawardene caught by Shafiq at backward point for a golden duck.
Sri Lanka looked to have overcome this double blow with Silva and Dinesh Chandimal (24 not out) getting their side into an overall lead, only for Silva, with three balls in the day remaining, to poke at one outside off stump and edge Junaid to Akmal behind the stumps.
He had been living a little dangerously prior to his dismissal and paid the price for playing at a series of balls that he could have left alone.
Nevertheless, with Mathews, Prasanna Jayawardene and Sachithra Senanayake still to come, Sri Lanka can still hope to put Pakistan under some pressure in the final innings if they can keep them at bay for long enough tomorrow.
© Cricket World 2014