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October 28, 2011
Chanaka Welegedara, the Sri Lanka seamer, says his team are still in with a chance of winning the second Test against Pakistan in Dubai, after a fighting partnership between Kumar Sangakkara and Tharanga Paranavitana erased 88 runs off Pakistan's 164-run first-innings lead. The wicket started to offer ample turn, and some uneven bounce, on the third evening of the Test, and Welegedara said a lead of 150 would be enough for Sri Lanka to defend.
"This partnership has lifted the morale of the team and has placed us in a good position," Welegedara, who scored 48 in the first innings and then took 2 for 79, said. "We are now trailing by only 76 runs. If we can take a lead of 150 runs in the second innings then we can win the match. Our bowlers are capable of utilising such a wicket to win the match."
Sangakkara and Paranavitana had to endure some nervy moments, with plenty of appeals for bat-pad catches, and an inside-edge from Sangakkara that missed off stump by a whisker. Their partnership has brought Sri Lanka back into the match but Asad Shafiq, the Pakistan batsman, says he does not expect to be chasing anything more than 100 in the second innings.
"This pitch has a lot of help for our spinners and some uneven bounce too," he said. "We have a good chance of getting them out cheaply. I don't expect us to have to bat again, and if we do it shouldn't be chasing anything more than 100."
The deterioration in the pitch has been somewhat sudden, after it looked a decent one for batting over the first two-and-a-half days. Shafiq, who scored a half-century on Friday, said it was the kind of pitch where he should have gone on to score a hundred. "It was a good pitch when I was in the middle and I should have converted my half-century into a hundred. But I will definitely do it next time around."
The pitches in the UAE had come in for criticism when South Africa played Pakistan here last November, but this Dubai pitch has provided help for the bowlers, and with two days left to play, this Test appears destined for a result.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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