Angelo Mathews puts Sri Lanka on top in deciding Test against Pak
Skipper Angelo Mathews battled his way to an unbeaten 77 as Sri Lanka seized the advantage in the series-deciding third and final Test against Pakistan in Pallekele on Sunday.
The hosts gained a first innings lead of 63 runs and then recovered from 35-3 in their second knock to post 228-5 by stumps on a rain-interrupted, but absorbing, third day’s play.
Mathews led from the front against a tiring Pakistani attack, adding 45 for the fourth wicket with Upul Tharanga (48) and 81 for the fifth with Jehan Mubarak (35).
Mubarak marked his recall to the Test side after almost eight years with a gutsy 35 before he was caught at short-leg off Yasir Shah in the final session. Dinesh Chandimal returned to form with 39 not out, helping his captain put on 67 for the sixth wicket before bad light ended the day’s play early. Sri Lanka will begin the fourth day with a commanding overall lead of 291 runs with five wickets in hand, having a clear advantage on the wearing pitch to break the 1-1 deadlock in the series.
“We need to bat one more session to push Pakistan out of the game,” said Mubarak. “The new ball is due in 10 overs and if we can survive that, we can get a lead of about 380.
“There are two more days left and there will be a result either way. Something like 380 will be a good target, I think. It will help us to attack the Pakistan batsmen.”
The tourists added six runs to their overnight score of 209-9 before they were all out for 215 in the day’s second over in reply to Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 278.
When Sri Lanka batted a second time, left-arm seamer Rahat Ali grabbed two quick wickets and new ball partner Ehsan Adil took one to leave the hosts tottering in the morning session.
Rahat bowled first innings century-maker <g data-gr-id="29">Dimuth</g> Karunaratne for 10 and <g data-gr-id="30">yorked</g> Lahiru Thirimanne for no score in an inspired eight-over opening spell.