Pakistan eye face-saving win

COLOMBO: Pakistan remained on course to win the third and final Test cricket against Sri Lanka after denting the home team’s chase of a world record target today.

Sri Lanka, set an improbable 492 to sweep the series 3-0 after they had won the first two Tests, were 183-3 in their second knock at stumps on the fourth day at the Sinhalese sports club.

When play begins on the fifth day for the first time in the series — the first Test ended in four days and the second in three — Pakistan will need seven wickets and Sri Lanka a further 309 runs in 90 overs for victory.

No team has ever scored 492 runs in the fourth innings to win a Test match. The highest successful chase so far is 418-7 by the West Indies against Australia in Antigua in 2003.

Sri Lanka were given a minimum of 150 overs to get the runs after Pakistan declared their second innings at 425-9 soon after lunch with former captain Shoaib Malik making 134.

Sri Lankan openers Malinda Warnapura and Tharanga Paranavitana put on 83 for the first wicket in 25 overs, their best partnership of the series, to raise visions of a history-defying feat.

But the fall of three wickets in the final session set Sri Lanka back even as skipper Kumar Sangakkara returned unbeaten on 50, having surpassed the 7,000-run mark in his 83rd Test on the way. Thilan Samaraweera was the other batsman at the crease on 20.

Warnapura, who made 31, was unfortunate to be given out caught by English umpire Ian Gould as television replays showed the ball from Danish Kaneria go off the pad to the short-leg fielder. Paranavitana went on to make a fluent 73 before tapping an easy catch to Fawad Alam at forward short-leg off Malik to make Sri Lanka 139-2.

Kaneria picked up his second wicket soon after when Mahela Jayawardene, who plodded for 29 minutes to make two, poked at a wide ball and edged a catch to wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal.

Earlier, Pakistan added 19 runs to their overnight score of 300

for five when Akmal fell in the

day’s fourth over after making 74 during a sixth-wicket stand of 133 runs with Malik. Tailender Umar Gul showed there were no hidden demons in the pitch as he

helped Malik add 52 for the

seventh wicket, himself contributing 22 in the partnership.

Malik was dismissed after a six-hour vigil at the crease when he holed out in the deep off spinner Rangana Hearth. The right-hander hit 13 fours and two sixes to shore up Pakistan’s innings after they had collapsed to 67-4 before lunch on the third day.

Gul helped himself to his highest Test score of 46 from 50 balls before he was caught at deep square-leg attempting a fourth six off Herath. Left-arm spinner Herath returned with 5-157 from 46 overs, his second five-wicket haul in as many matches.


PAKISTAN — 1st Innings: 299

SRI LANKA — 1st Innings: 233

PAKISTAN — 2nd Innings (Overnight 300-5)

S Malik c Lakmal b Herath 134

K Akmal c Jayawardene b Kulasekera 74

U Gul c Vaas b Herath 46

D Kaneria c Thushara b Herath 5

M Aamer not out 22

S Ajmal not out 3

Extras: 16 (b10, lb2, nb2, w2)

Total: 425-9 (decl)

FoW: 1-16, 2-22, 3-54, 4-67, 5-186, 6-319, 7-371,

8-399, 9-405

Sri Lanka bowling: Kulasekera 20-5-55-2,

Thushara 28-2-121-1, Herath 46-6-157-5,

Vaas 19-6-47-0, Mathews 10-1-33-1

SRI LANKA — 2nd Innings

T Paranavitana c Alam b Malik 73

M Warnapura c Malik b Kaneria 31

K Sangakkara not out 50

M Jayawardene c Akmal b Kaneria 2

T Samaraweera not out 20

Extras: 7 (lb5, nb2)

Total: 183-3

FoW: 1-83, 2-139, 3-155

Pakistan bowling: Gul 6-0-27-0, Aamer 9-0-20-0, Younus 3-0-16-0, Ajmal 16-1-36-0, Malik 9-1-23-1, Kaneria 16-1-56-2