Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sharjah, 4th day November 6, 2011

Sri Lanka face battle to save series

28

Sri Lanka 413 and 164 for 5 (Paranavitana 66*, Sangakkara 51) lead Pakistan 340 (Younis Khan 122, Misbah 89, Azhar 53, Welegedara 5-87) by 237 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Sri Lanka remained ahead after another attritional day in the third Test in Sharjah, but not to the extent required if they are to be confident of squaring the series. They are now left hoping for another of the famous Pakistan collapses that gave them the series the last time these two sides faced off.

In the morning, a mix of old-school batting and innovation from Misbah-ul-Haq and butter-fingered fielding helped Pakistan frustrate Sri Lanka and cut into the first-innings deficit. After lunch, Sri Lanka needed quick runs to set up a declaration but, as in the rest of this match, the big hits proved elusive and the run-rate remained low. Some late Saeed Ajmal strikes even gave Pakistan an outside chance of winning the Test.

On Saturday, Sri Lanka were buoyed by some late blows, and perked up even more after striking twice early today. Chanaka Welegedara removed Abdur Rehman in the first over of the day, getting the batsman to nick to the slip cordon, where Mahela Jayawardene fumbled but the ball landed in Paranavitana's lap at first slip. Soon after, Umar Gul heaved a length ball to mid-off and Sri Lanka were eyeing an early end to the Pakistan innings.

That would have happened if wicketkeeper Kaushal Silva had held on to a regulation take after Misbah edged Rangana Herath early in the day. That was the easiest of the three lives Misbah had - Angelo Mathews flew goalkeeper-style at mid-off but couldn't latch on, and Tharanga Paranavitana put down a similarly difficult chance at square leg.

Misbah made the most of those opportunities. He may have scored at a rate deemed slow even by Test standards, but there were also several moves from him that wouldn't have been out of place in a limited-overs game: he kept shuffling around in his crease, especially against Herath, there was a reverse-sweep for four and a savage six over long-on.

He regularly declined singles to shield No. 10 Ajmal and, though there were some close lbw calls, the pair defied Sri Lanka for 18 precious overs - that didn't just reduce Sri Lanka's lead but ate into the time available to force a result. Misbah looked headed for his fourth Test century, but top-edged a slog-sweep off Suraj Randiv to fall for 89.The final pair couldn't last very long after that, with Welegedara removing Junaid Khan to wrap up the innings and complete his five-for.

Sri Lanka's reply got off to a horrible start as Tillakaratne Dilshan, the man most capable of providing them the early momentum, fell victim to Gul's knack of striking in the first over. Paranavitana, with only two half-centuries in his previous 15 innings, would have been dismissed by Gul for the fifth time in the series if Asad Shafiq had pouched a chance early on. He wasn't at ease against the spinners either, surviving several loud calls for lbw.

Kumar Sangakkara extended his excellent run in the series, becoming only the third Sri Lanka batsman to make 500 runs in a series, but he too began watchfully. It was only once the slow bowlers came on that he began to open up. Mohammad Hafeez was greeted with a lofted on-drive for four, before Sangakkara crashed sixes in successive overs to boost the dawdling run-rate. He completed a fluent half-century before his second soft dismissal of the match, chopping a short ball to the point fielder.

That dismissal prompted a bit more adventure from Paranavitana, who had crawled along to 30 off 111 deliveries, putting pressure on his partners. He slugged Ajmal over midwicket for six and followed that up with a glanced boundary as Sri Lanka had a productive six-over spell, going at nearly a run-a-ball.

Just as Sri Lanka seemed to finally be hitting the gear they needed to, Gul trapped Mahela Jayawardene lbw with an incutter. The conventional offbreak then brought Ajmal two wickets in an over - Angelo Mathews and Silva.

Paranavitana was unbeaten but has only the debutant Kosala Kulasekara and the tail for support, and Sri Lanka's lead is still not sufficiently enough to declare. Even if they manage a quick burst of runs on Monday and declare early, the pitch still isn't venomous enough for a bowling attack to run through a line-up in two-and-a-half sessions, especially one that is missing a specialist quick.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on November 7, 2011, 8:48 GMT

    Well, for the next tour of Bangladesh then England... Pakistan has to build a Strong Test team.....

    1>Hafeez 2>Asad Shafiq 3>Azhar 4>Younis 5> Yusuf 6>Misbah 7>Umar Akmal (wk) 8>Gul 9>Ajmal 10>Junaid 11>Wahab Riaz/ Abdur Rehman / Tanvir Ahmed / Aizaz Cheema...

    It can beat any test side but may be Wicket Keeper is not gud..

  • Main_Culprit on November 7, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    SL Vs The rain Gods. Can these ever be separated? If SL plays, it will even rain in the Middle East...HaHaHa! Any country with a drought... all you have to do it arrange a series with SL. Rain is guaranteed.... ;)

  • on November 7, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    @shiva - dream on buddy - that's not happening :)

  • MENDIS_Forever on November 7, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    It's still 50-50 chance for Sri Lanka,but honestly I don't think they'll take10 wickets on the final day.But lots of positives are there for the Sri Lankans, Wela taking a 5-for ,and they proved still they can take 10 wickets without the legends.Maybe u r wrong mr.chappel.

  • likeintcricket on November 7, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    Despite Loosing toss continuously and some catching and umpiring issues, Pakistan is clearly a better side. Only Because of Great Sanga SL still have some chance of saving the series otherwise series could have been wrapped up 3-0 by now. They might not be that highly talented side batting wise, but they are a bunch of fighting cricketers and they will surely fight to the very end to save or win this test.

  • likeintcricket on November 7, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    @Shiva Kumar, Dude You should predict " India will win next Soccer World Cup" That'll make you more happy.

  • on November 7, 2011, 2:59 GMT

    I think draw test natch Beacuse run rate is very slow for 3 ininnings not good run rate so i hope this test match is draw

  • on November 7, 2011, 2:49 GMT

    Srilanka are 237 runs in the lead. I think that if they take half a session and get to 300 runs with about 70 overs left then there might actually be a chance for a pakistan victory. It all depends on Hafeez. If he gets going and scores 70+ then that would put pakistan in a very good position. But if he gets out early then pakistan have enough experiance to be able to block out the entire day, with the likes of azhar ali, younus khan and misbah all able to block for a long time.

  • Desihungama on November 7, 2011, 0:27 GMT

    If Misbah had scored any more runs and lead would not have been substantial, this game would certainly end in a draw. Was it deliberate? Give SL false sense of security which may enforce them scoring 30-40 quick runs and give Pak 75 overs and THAT my friend give Pak the option to either go for the win or draw to win the series. Mind you 1-0 series win will not move Pak up the ladder, a 2-0 series win will. In the end, I think super canny tactic by Misbah.

  • khurramsch on November 6, 2011, 22:43 GMT

    Sl didnt score that quickly & now 1 more critical factor. if they had declared overnight they could have a life line of new ball at end of 5th day but now if they play 8 overs they wont get 2nd ball. & more imp about 3rd umpire. that run out was shocker. 3rd umpire dont even know the rules?

  • on November 7, 2011, 8:48 GMT

    Well, for the next tour of Bangladesh then England... Pakistan has to build a Strong Test team.....

    1>Hafeez 2>Asad Shafiq 3>Azhar 4>Younis 5> Yusuf 6>Misbah 7>Umar Akmal (wk) 8>Gul 9>Ajmal 10>Junaid 11>Wahab Riaz/ Abdur Rehman / Tanvir Ahmed / Aizaz Cheema...

    It can beat any test side but may be Wicket Keeper is not gud..

  • Main_Culprit on November 7, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    SL Vs The rain Gods. Can these ever be separated? If SL plays, it will even rain in the Middle East...HaHaHa! Any country with a drought... all you have to do it arrange a series with SL. Rain is guaranteed.... ;)

  • on November 7, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    @shiva - dream on buddy - that's not happening :)

  • MENDIS_Forever on November 7, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    It's still 50-50 chance for Sri Lanka,but honestly I don't think they'll take10 wickets on the final day.But lots of positives are there for the Sri Lankans, Wela taking a 5-for ,and they proved still they can take 10 wickets without the legends.Maybe u r wrong mr.chappel.

  • likeintcricket on November 7, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    Despite Loosing toss continuously and some catching and umpiring issues, Pakistan is clearly a better side. Only Because of Great Sanga SL still have some chance of saving the series otherwise series could have been wrapped up 3-0 by now. They might not be that highly talented side batting wise, but they are a bunch of fighting cricketers and they will surely fight to the very end to save or win this test.

  • likeintcricket on November 7, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    @Shiva Kumar, Dude You should predict " India will win next Soccer World Cup" That'll make you more happy.

  • on November 7, 2011, 2:59 GMT

    I think draw test natch Beacuse run rate is very slow for 3 ininnings not good run rate so i hope this test match is draw

  • on November 7, 2011, 2:49 GMT

    Srilanka are 237 runs in the lead. I think that if they take half a session and get to 300 runs with about 70 overs left then there might actually be a chance for a pakistan victory. It all depends on Hafeez. If he gets going and scores 70+ then that would put pakistan in a very good position. But if he gets out early then pakistan have enough experiance to be able to block out the entire day, with the likes of azhar ali, younus khan and misbah all able to block for a long time.

  • Desihungama on November 7, 2011, 0:27 GMT

    If Misbah had scored any more runs and lead would not have been substantial, this game would certainly end in a draw. Was it deliberate? Give SL false sense of security which may enforce them scoring 30-40 quick runs and give Pak 75 overs and THAT my friend give Pak the option to either go for the win or draw to win the series. Mind you 1-0 series win will not move Pak up the ladder, a 2-0 series win will. In the end, I think super canny tactic by Misbah.

  • khurramsch on November 6, 2011, 22:43 GMT

    Sl didnt score that quickly & now 1 more critical factor. if they had declared overnight they could have a life line of new ball at end of 5th day but now if they play 8 overs they wont get 2nd ball. & more imp about 3rd umpire. that run out was shocker. 3rd umpire dont even know the rules?

  • khurramsch on November 6, 2011, 22:40 GMT

    SL not clearly ahead but yes SL has edge . not sure its still 50-50 that what will hapen. SL couldnt score quickly enough to declare overnight. now they can hope a collapse or pitch turns so much on last day. 2 things which pakistan should rething. 1- Sl last 2/3 wickets scored 80 runs which proved very vital. & 2nd i would not say about 4th day but during yonas misbah partnership younas scored 73 & mibah 26 off 130 balls. he should have contributed little bit like 25/30 more runs with younas as that time old ball was not doing much. & that could have reduced lead. & recent past history shows that pak will not go for any reachable or not reachable total.

  • jezza25 on November 6, 2011, 22:22 GMT

    Being an expat SL living in Aust. sad to see the decline in SLC. Duleep's excuse of lack of coach. is just that & covering up for his failure at the helm. Marsh's character dour not positive. So why appoint him. Sanga pulled out when Murali/Vaas retired. Admire your intellectuality and character and was dissapointed that you pulled the pin, so take it (capt) back and finish your career as a true legend. Great fan of Mahela but appears to be on the decline. Dilshan not much talent only made a name in ODI's and one big inns in Eng. Our bowlers need to be patient. Murali did it, although more talented then the current crop. Line & length is the basic arsenal for any bowler. Mcgrath did it for yrs. Watch out for Chandimal, Pieris, Madushanka, Kaushal, Rajapakse, Rajagura & De Mel. There is some talent there. And no more excuses for SLC. Use common sense.

  • thePakistanian on November 6, 2011, 21:48 GMT

    Come on Guys!! Just look at the situation we as Nation & Team are going thru & all we are complaining now is NEGATIVITY & Playing For DRAW!!  4-5 First choice players are not in team, new guys are playing for last one year & Pakistan has not lost a single series as team! (Leaving this SL & last year SA series, we have not played against the best, but I think it's great that our new team has played against average to good teams & played consistently & in now its ready for Big teams like IND, ENG & SA)!

    Pakistan Cricket is at the Lowest state any team has ever been, & if we got a guy like Misbah, who with whatever approach; is either Wining or Drawing series, then what's the problem. What more do u want from this team at this state. Let's just hope & keep our fingers crossed for this & future series!

  • on November 6, 2011, 21:24 GMT

    The standard of test cricket under current captaincy is worst then ever in the history of cricket, the approach of team is to just avoid any defeat. If you have seen the last day of Zimbabwe vs Newzeland Taylor was going after the match and he was in the position of winning it, until waller slowed it down and got out to lose the match. Pakistan team can employ these tactics here but not against other teams....

  • on November 6, 2011, 20:04 GMT

    I cant see pakistan loosing this match !! The only way Sri Lanka can take 10 wickets is when PAKISTAN play for a win !! I can assure you misbah and co. wont go for it !!

  • thePakistanian on November 6, 2011, 19:24 GMT

    (continue)...

    I'm 99% sure that this match is going to draw, but still I'm hopefully that Pak can snatch a win!

    We could have held on to those dropped catches in 1st test & the series could be 2-0, but these inconsistent/shocking performances have happened previously in Pakistan cricket for so long & so often that I'm really happy that this new team is more consistent & is improving, & they did improved in next test.

    If this series goes as 1-0, even then I'm happy, cuz I believe that it's great to see this team climb the ladder slowly & steadily, like India, by avoiding series Losses!

    It's not about been negative or positive & playing for win or draw, it's just what we need at this time! We need Consistency & Calmness in our Players & Team (which is happening slowly)! Try & avoid the loss & we will Win!

    Hope & Pray for best of Pakistan cricket & this current team looks pretty good!

    Hafeez Taufeeq Azhar Younis Misbah Malik/Asad U.Akmal Ajmal Rehman/Wahab/Aziz Gul Junaid!!

  • MH19 on November 6, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    Sri Lanka should declaire and give Pakistan to chase 237 runs with Pace spin attack and this will be for sure an interesting battle as Sri Lanka will have all the chances of making pakistan crumble and win the test. Batting further for a lead will end in no result and that will not make Sri Lanka look good as they are already down 1-0.Lets see the attitude of Skipper Dilshan dont be surprise he will throw battle to Pakistan and if Sri Lanka can win this will go as one of the sportiest challenges in history of test cricket.

  • on November 6, 2011, 18:58 GMT

    SL WILL WIN THIS TEST ................................

  • on November 6, 2011, 18:21 GMT

    SriLanka would have scored another 30-40 runs in the first hour on the final day and gone for the kill in the Murali-Vaas era, but would not take a chance with this Pakistani team with the present set of bowlers. Pakistan would settle for a draw and claim the series even if the Lankans declare at the overnight score.

  • LMaster on November 6, 2011, 16:35 GMT

    Anyone hoping for collapse, I can assure you it will not happen. If SL sets Pakistan getable total, they will still go for dull draw and go for series win 1-0.

  • BravoBravo on November 6, 2011, 16:27 GMT

    PAK has to play some positive game which they were and always be known for to make this match entertaining. BTW the PAK batting collapse is a thing from the past, the new member of this COLLAPSING club in test matches are IND (against SA in IND) and SL (against ENG in ENG) where IND and SL did not last even for 20 overs. PAK and SL both have to give this match a positive spin.

  • koi1 on November 6, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    this series must have had the worst umpiring in recent memory. absolutely astonishing decisions!

  • on November 6, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    Agreed! There's no way Pakistan would go for the win from this situation

  • ZUBAIR_KHAN_AFRIDI on November 6, 2011, 16:00 GMT

    Good Bowling By Gul And Ajmal At The Last Overs To Slow Down SL Progress.

    But Anyway Very Less Chances For Result Of This Match.

  • Dr.Hasan on November 6, 2011, 15:52 GMT

    Cant really see Pak going for a win even with the lead that SL have at the moment. Another 30-40 runs in the 1st hr play tomoro and they should declare. I reckon the Pak batting line up could be seriously challenged to save the match if they have to bat about 80 overs esp if hafeez goes early. And someone PLEASE replace akmal with a keeper who can bat a bit even,gud keeper but clueless batsman,surely sarfaraz is a better choice.

  • on November 6, 2011, 15:44 GMT

    I just can't understand the philosophy of our caption {MIsbah}, he is playing for draw... He face 281 deliveries, and if he had score 150 out of 281 balls, we would have been in commanding position... But... any ways I am quite confident Pakistan will draw the test and win the series...

  • on November 6, 2011, 15:40 GMT

    Mr Stark62 there is a difference between the pitches in west indies as compared to one in UAE...... but looking at the performance of west indies they may collapse in India...........

  • Stark62 on November 6, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    It will be a really interesting last day if Pak can bowl out SL by conceding a minimum of 20 to 30 runs before lunch but it seems that is unlikely because Pak have been struggling against the tail.

    SL will have to play out the 1st session tomorrow and hope they can add 50 to 60 more runs to the total and then hope for a batting collapse from Pak, like the one in Galle.

    But it's most likely going to be a dull draw!

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  • Stark62 on November 6, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    It will be a really interesting last day if Pak can bowl out SL by conceding a minimum of 20 to 30 runs before lunch but it seems that is unlikely because Pak have been struggling against the tail.

    SL will have to play out the 1st session tomorrow and hope they can add 50 to 60 more runs to the total and then hope for a batting collapse from Pak, like the one in Galle.

    But it's most likely going to be a dull draw!

  • on November 6, 2011, 15:40 GMT

    Mr Stark62 there is a difference between the pitches in west indies as compared to one in UAE...... but looking at the performance of west indies they may collapse in India...........

  • on November 6, 2011, 15:44 GMT

    I just can't understand the philosophy of our caption {MIsbah}, he is playing for draw... He face 281 deliveries, and if he had score 150 out of 281 balls, we would have been in commanding position... But... any ways I am quite confident Pakistan will draw the test and win the series...

  • Dr.Hasan on November 6, 2011, 15:52 GMT

    Cant really see Pak going for a win even with the lead that SL have at the moment. Another 30-40 runs in the 1st hr play tomoro and they should declare. I reckon the Pak batting line up could be seriously challenged to save the match if they have to bat about 80 overs esp if hafeez goes early. And someone PLEASE replace akmal with a keeper who can bat a bit even,gud keeper but clueless batsman,surely sarfaraz is a better choice.

  • ZUBAIR_KHAN_AFRIDI on November 6, 2011, 16:00 GMT

    Good Bowling By Gul And Ajmal At The Last Overs To Slow Down SL Progress.

    But Anyway Very Less Chances For Result Of This Match.

  • on November 6, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    Agreed! There's no way Pakistan would go for the win from this situation

  • koi1 on November 6, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    this series must have had the worst umpiring in recent memory. absolutely astonishing decisions!

  • BravoBravo on November 6, 2011, 16:27 GMT

    PAK has to play some positive game which they were and always be known for to make this match entertaining. BTW the PAK batting collapse is a thing from the past, the new member of this COLLAPSING club in test matches are IND (against SA in IND) and SL (against ENG in ENG) where IND and SL did not last even for 20 overs. PAK and SL both have to give this match a positive spin.

  • LMaster on November 6, 2011, 16:35 GMT

    Anyone hoping for collapse, I can assure you it will not happen. If SL sets Pakistan getable total, they will still go for dull draw and go for series win 1-0.

  • on November 6, 2011, 18:21 GMT

    SriLanka would have scored another 30-40 runs in the first hour on the final day and gone for the kill in the Murali-Vaas era, but would not take a chance with this Pakistani team with the present set of bowlers. Pakistan would settle for a draw and claim the series even if the Lankans declare at the overnight score.