Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st Test, Galle, 4th day August 9, 2014

Sangakkara double gives SL lead


Pakistan 451 and 4 for 1 trail Sri Lanka 533 for 9 dec (Sangakkara 221, Mathews 91, Silva 64, Ajmal 5-166) by 78 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Kumar Sangakkara continued to torment Pakistan with his tenth double-century that took him past Brian Lara and put him only behind Don Bradman's 12. Sri Lanka began the day 199 runs behind but Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews wiped off the deficit with a 181-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

Mathews fell just before tea for the fifth time in the nineties, the last three of which have all been against Pakistan, and all 91s. But Sangakkara carried on after equaling Bradman for 18 scores of 150-plus and ensured Sri Lanka had a healthy lead before they declared to leave Pakistan's tired batsmen 20 minutes to survive till stumps.

Sri Lanka had almost the perfect finish to the day when Khurram Manzoor nicked Rangana Herath behind. After conceding 451 in the first innings, they kept Pakistan in the field for six sessions, and now have the chance to put the visiting batsmen under serious pressure on the final day.

Pakistan did not help themselves by dropping Sangakkara first ball in the morning off Junaid Khan, and then on 168 off Saeed Ajmal. They did take out Mahela Jayawardene with the fourth ball of the day, but it was all Sri Lanka after that on a largely unresponsive pitch.

The first over of the day began with immense promise for Pakistan. The second new ball was available at the start and Junaid had Sangakkara driving the first delivery straight to Abdur Rehman at point, only for it to go through his hands. Junaid had Jayawardene edging the second past the cordon and beat him with the third. The fourth moved back to hit the pad, and Pakistan reviewed successfully against umpire Ian Gould's decision, replays showing the ball hitting the stumps near the top.

The slight movement that had brought the wicket disappeared soon and the drop only made Sangakkara concentrate harder. Unless the ball was really full or short, he was not going for it. He was alert enough into his fifth session of batting to keep working singles and twos regularly. At the other end was a man whose batting average as captain gets more unbelievable by the day.

Mathews calmly eased Junaid through extra cover to start off. Saeed Ajmal found plenty of slow turn and bounce at times, but his good length allowed Mathews to go right back and either hit him through off or work him to leg. A few did pop up off Mathews' pad, but they could not snare the inside edge.

Mohammad Talha lacked Junaid's discipline and even as he beat the batsmen now and then, he also did not make them play much. Talha tried the short ball against Mathews after lunch, and did have him top-edging a pull, only for the ball to sail over long leg.

Again, Rehman was used much less than Ajmal was, and again, he was less penetrative. Pakistan were also poor in the field, unable to cut out a few boundaries and singles. With no pressure exerted by either bowlers or fielders, Sri Lanka added 111 in 31 overs in the second session, and 84 in 23.1 after tea.

Just a couple of overs before tea, Ajmal had Mathews edging a doosra, and Younis Khan, who had put down Sangakkara, did not miss this time at slip. Ajmal now toyed with Kithuruwan Vithanage, beating him with doosras and offbreaks. He ended the session by ripping one past Sangakkara's outside edge, and consumed Vithanage, Niroshan Dickwella and Dilruwan Perera soon after the interval. Ajmal had waited 46.2 overs for a wicket, the longest he has ever had to; he would pick up five in just under 13 overs. It was his most expensive five-for, at 166 runs.

Sangakkara was still not done. He had a nervy moment or two on 199 before he punched Ajmal to point to bring up the double. With wickets falling around him, he started stepping out to loft the spinners for boundaries. He eventually charged Rehman and missed to be stumped off his 425th delivery. Dhammika Prasad connected a few blows to swell the lead to 82, a figure that could appear much larger for Pakistan if Sri Lanka are able to strike early on the fifth morning.

Abhishek Purohit is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chirath on August 10, 2014, 6:53 GMT

    @ irshadfaisal i agree with Ramiz Raja. Had Pakistan played normal cricket at double their current run rate, they would have been would had a lead of 30 runs by now. You mentioned South Africa in the last Test, well...remember there was close to 20 overs lost to rain. As well as South Africa played, they admitted themselves they were had assistnce from the rain gods and theartrical performance from Imran Tahir at the end.

  • john on August 10, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    One area SL can improve to force a decision in tests is the run rate. If they can score runs at a rate close to 4 or thereabouts, it will give the SL bowlers a better chance / time to dismiss the opposition.

  • R on August 10, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    Sangakkara is in top form this year. Eventhough its a tailor made track fro SL, Batsman should apply themselves to score big innings.

  • Robin on August 10, 2014, 6:30 GMT

    as a srilankan supporter really appreciate the down to earth fair comments by the the pakistan fans

  • CHAUDHARY FAISAL on August 10, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    Please! Someone should tell Rameez Raja that Pakistan is rightly playing in a shell. There are only two possible options. Either it ends in a draw or Sri Lanka wins. To ensure a draw, lesser risky option is to safely consume the overs. This strategy worked for South Africa to reclaim test cricket crown in the last match played in Sri Lanka. Someone request Mr. Raja to come out of his obsession because if he is longing for a change, its just going to hurt Pakistan. Status quo is the way out.

  • Android on August 10, 2014, 6:13 GMT

    not much in the pitch but pak are making it difficult for themselves by just blocking. they need to score runs at normal rate to save it. so far night watchman out and shehzad's wicket was thanks to wrong decisions and more importantly azhar ali for convincing him that its dead. another wrong call for review. may hurt badly. so far about 6 overturned and 3 more could have been overturned if sl and pak decided to review properly.

  • Dummy4 on August 10, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    Khuram Manzoor Last 11 innings 4, 0, 0, 21, 8, 73, 6, 52, 21, 3, 3 Azhar Ali Last 10 innings 0, 7, 0, 11, 3, 19, 19, 8, 103, 30 What are Pakistan selecters finding in these two players? Anybody really thanks that both of them are capable to play International cricket, when you have Umar Akmal, Fawad Aalam, Umer Amin, Shan Masod, Sohaib Maqsod on Banch.. Come On Selectors, Wake Up! please stop Your Own favorite players

  • Dummy4 on August 10, 2014, 5:47 GMT

    He is birth number 9 Lord Mars, he did so well at no 3. 3 6 9 are lucky for him. A typical scorpio, he has own style to play a attacking and dominator cricket. He may not be compare to others. SL number 9 is always good and they won T 20 just Co of him,

    he may not be so well in the leading well but he has experience to deliver the performance, there are so many player that did so well in the Asian condition.

  • Pundit on August 10, 2014, 3:58 GMT

    It has been a master class by Sangakara in my opinion much better technically with more illustrious now retired neighbour. The record proves it as well his intelligence.

    Hopefully the Pakistan batsmen have watched closely and learn from his technique! Naturally the opener did not, could manage to leave the ball, a prerequisite for an opening batsmen. Pakstan will be severely tested on 5th day. Matthews is becoming a much better captain,having improved much from last series against Pak.

  • varsha on August 10, 2014, 3:53 GMT

    I'm not from SL nor a Sl supporter, but I'm a Sanga fan - what an immense and under-rated top quality batsman. It's astounding that he is still producing after so many years and at his age. Compared to Tendulkar when he retired, it was long overdue and he hadn't been producing for years on a level on what Sanga is still doing now. Respect.

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