Sri Lankans have their backs to the wall :
Malik’s majestic century helps Pakistan to a 366 lead
The Pakistanis who would have earned the tag ‘Collapso Boys’, had
they collapsed again like they did in the first Two Tests, batted with
determination and purpose to end day three in a strong position in the
Third and final Test against Sri Lanka at the SSC here today.
They were helped to this position by two determined stands, first for
the 5th wicket between Misbah Ul-Haq 65 and Shoaib Malik – 119 and a 6th
wicket unbroken stand of 114 between Malik and Kamran Akmal 60 not out.
In between Shoaib Malik executed a majestic century undefeated 106,
his second in Tests. He went to his century when he lofted Herath over
mid off for six to go from 95 to 101.Considering the circumstances,it
was a great effort.
At the close the Pakistanis were 300 for 5 wickets – a lead of 366
with five wickets remaining and two days to go. Pakistan made 299 in the
first innings and Sri Lanka replied with 233.
For the first time in the series, the Lankans find themselves with
their backs to the wall and will have to produce a tremendous batting
performance, if they are to stave off defeat and score an epic victory.
The Pakistani spin twins of Danesh Kaneira and Saeed Ajmal will have
a fourth innings wicket giving them help and they will revel on it.
The ground was bathed in sunshine when play began on the third day
with Pakistan 16 for the loss of Khurram Mansoor’s wicket with the not
out batsmen being Fawd Alam on 14 and Younus Khan yet to open his
account and a lead of 82 runs. For Pakistan who had lost the previous
two Test matches, the option was to bat better than they did in the
earlier Tests, accumulate runs and getting Sri Lanka to chase a
formidable total for victory
From Sri Lanka’s point of view they had to quickly get the remaining
opponent’s batsmen cheaply and not have to chase a difficult score on
the pitch that is tending to deteriorate and help spinners as the game
With that being the scenario, Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara
immediately went on the attack with pace from Thusara Mirando and spin
from Rangana Herath. He gave Herath who has been Sri Lanka’s match
winner in the Tests in Galle and the P. Sara Oval an attacking field of
a slip, a gully, short leg and silly point.
With just six runs added, Mirando got one to bounce and Alam failed
to keep it down and lollied a return catch to the bowler.
Alam made 16.22 for 2. Khan and Mohammed Yousuf added 32 for the next
wicket with some careful batting and birthday boy Nuwan Kulasekera
coming on for Herath had Khan LBW for 19 with the score on 54.
Yousuf seemed to be going well, but lunged lazily forward and snicked
Herath to wicket keeper Sangakkara for 23 with the score on 67.
During the Misbah Ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik stand, spinner Herath
seemed to sacrifice spin for pace, and instead of flighting, looking for
spin and attempting to buy his wickets which spinners are expected to
do, he looked innocuous and the batsmen were playing him with consummate
Misbah and Malik two very experienced batsmen, showed patience, good
technique and concentration as they stayed put at the wickets for the
entire session between lunch and tea and never allowed the bowlers to
They pushed the singles and once they got their eyes in used their
feet well to counter the spin from Herath who was the only bowler who
looked like taking a wicket.
They had him under control lifting him for two sixes.They added 82
between lunch and tea.
With the other bowlers being up and down, how skipper Sangakkara
would have been wishing for another tweaker. Going in with one spinner
and four pacies was poor selection.
1st innings: 299
1st innings: 233
PAKISTAN 2nd innings (overnight 16-1)
Khurram Manzoor b Herath 2
Fawad Alam c and b Thushara 16
Younus Khan lbw b Kulasekera 19
Mohammad Yousuf c Sangakkara b Herath 23
Misbah-ul Haq c Sangakkara b Mathews 65
Shoaib Malik not out 106
Kamran Akmal not out 60
Extras: (b6, lb2, w1) 9
TOTAL (for 5 wkts, 95 overs) 300
Fall of wickets: 1-16 (Manzoor), 2-22 (Alam), 3-54 (Younus), 4-67 (Yousuf), 5-186 (Misbah).
Bowling: Kulasekera 15-5-33-1 (w1), Thushara 19-2-84-1, Herath 37-6-113-2,
Vaas 14-6-29-0, Mathews 10-1-33-1.