Pakistan 299 & 425-9 dec. (Shoaib Malik 134) v
Sri Lanka 233 & 183-3 (Paranavitana 73)
Third Test, Colombo, day four
By Peter Exley
Sri Lanka have been set a monumental task of scoring an improbable but not impossible 492 runs to win in the third and final Test match against Pakistan.
Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal resumed play on day four after having finished on 104 and 60 not out respectively. Looking for quick runs to reach a declaration point, Akmal perished for 70 from just 74 balls. Malik was able to reach 134 before being dismissed and there were late surges from Umar Gul and Mohammad Aamer who hit 46 and 22 not out respectively in quick time. Rangana Herath, who continues to revel in the spinner’s role with the absence of Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis, took five wickets, but it wasn’t enough to stop Pakistan from marching on.
Having moved onto 425 for nine, captain Younus Khan felt that they had sufficient runs to play with and called time on the innings. That gave Sri Lanka a mammoth total of 492 runs to win, however with a whole day left at the end of this one, it is still a possibility.
The hosts began well, with openers Tharanga Paranavitana and Malinda Warnapura putting on 83 before the first wicket fell. However, they were pegged back somewhat by Danish Kaneria who took 2 for 56 as he removed danger man Mahela Jayawardene for just two.
Paranavitana hit 73 and captain Kumar Sangakkara ended unbeaten on 50 as Sri Lanka closed on 183 for three, still requiring 309 to win.
It will be an unlikely victory if Sri Lanka do indeed score the remainder of the runs however, it is still a possibility with a whole day’s cricket to go, and seven wickets still in hand.
© Cricket World 2009