Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 2nd Test, SSC, 3rd day August 16, 2014

Sangakkara, Jayawardene prosper after Herath nine


Sri Lanka 320 and 177 for 2 (Sangakkara 54*, Jayawardene 49*) lead Pakistan 332 (Sarfraz 103, Herath 9-127) by 165 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Twice, in this match, Pakistan's perseverance had meant Sri Lanka were not allowed to run away too far ahead. The home side, sitting on a 1-0 lead, won the toss on a batting-friendly pitch, but were restricted to a slightly below-par 320 by Pakistan's seamers. Rangana Herath then quaked the Pakistan batting line-up with a career-best nine-wicket haul - the best by a left-arm bowler, but the visitors, led by a counterattacking century from wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed, still managed to post a slender first-innings lead.

Sri Lanka's third advance, though, was the one threatening to take the match, and the series, way beyond Pakistan's reach. It came from familiar quarters: the Kumar Sangakkara-Mahela Jayawardene combine. The two, batting together for the last time in Tests, blunted the Pakistan spinners during a period where they were extracting help from the pitch and added an unbeaten 98 runs to drive Sri Lanka into a strong position. During the course of their stand, the two also went past Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge to become the second-most prolific duo in Tests.

In the absence of Junaid Khan, who sat out the last two sessions after being hit on the helmet grille while batting, Pakistan's three frontline bowlers toiled for 61 out of 63 overs and were only able to dislodge the Sri Lanka openers.

As has been the trend in this Test match, the SSC pitch offered much more to the bowlers in the last session. Few stayed low, some turned and bounced, and a couple beat the inside edge of Sangakkara's bat as he went for the drive, a rare sight in itself. But if one had to pick two batsmen for such conditions, Jayawardene and Sangakkara would be top choice for most. They tired out the bowlers with their immaculate defence but played the most exquisite drives the moment the bowlers erred. Sangakkara reached yet another half-century with a paddle to fine-leg boundary in the last over of the day while Jayawardene, unbeaten on 49, was on course to make it a memorable farewell.

The calmness with which Sangakkara and Jayawardene played was in complete contrast with the frantic morning session during which the two teams traded blows. The pitch was firmer and there was not much for the bowlers but that did not have much effect on the approach of Herath, who went on to pick up all four Pakistan wickets to fall.

That Pakistan managed a slender 12-run lead was down to Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan wicketkeeper, who has been prolific in each innings in this series - he has gone past 50 every time. Sarfraz reserved his best for the SSC, after Pakistan had slid to 140 for 5 on the second day and were in danger of losing the advantage of restricting Sri Lanka to 320.

He became the first Pakistan wicketkeeper to hit a century - his first in Tests - since Kamran Akmal's unbeaten 158 against Sri Lanka in Karachi in February 2009.

Starting the day 76 short of Sri Lanka's total, Sarfraz was the key for Pakistan if they were to get close. And the batsman's busy approach meant he didn't let the bowlers settle on one line. The sweep and the cut were his most profitable allies as he continued to collect runs at a brisk pace. As Sri Lanka waited for the new ball, Sarfraz calmly kept the scoreboard moving with neat manoeuvres, a powerful sweep from outside off to Angelo Mathews standing out among his early runs on the day.

Before reaching his century, Sarfraz lost Abdur Rehman after a 40-run stand - the batsman edging Herath to Jayawardene at first slip - and Wahab Riaz, who scored 17. On 90, he twice swept seamer Chanaka Welegedara off consecutive balls, hitting a four and a six to reach his maiden hundred off only 109 balls. The loud shriek of excitement as he celebrated the landmark reverberated around the ground. He received a standing ovation from the Pakistan dressing room that was relieved to see a possible setback had been single-handedly averted.

After adding three more runs though, Sarfraz was dismissed in typical Herath fashion: the flight drawing the batsman forward, then turning to take the outside edge. It was only the second dicey shot Sarfraz played off the spinner after staying in command throughout his innings. It was also Herath's eighth wicket. The bowler picked up another one with a slider to become the first bowler since Muttiah Muralitharan, in 2002, to bag a nine-wicket haul. He already has 18 dismissals this series, and will have his eye on Murali's record of 22 wickets in a two-match Test series.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Robin on August 17, 2014, 7:00 GMT

    thirimanne failing again and again and yet being the vice captain and in the team,cant understand this policy of our stupid selectors who does not seem to have the knowledge or wisdom of the common arm chair critic even,he is just vulnerability in the middle order,if a wicket falls and thirimanne is the next batsman coming its all most guranteed a double strike for the bowling team

  • Vinoth on August 17, 2014, 5:45 GMT

    Oh no. It's too dark and freezing in colombo now. It's gonna rain anytime but SL fans need this match end with the win for Maiya.

  • yogesh on August 17, 2014, 5:02 GMT

    bad luck Mahela for not scoring a century. But well played mate

  • Prashan on August 17, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    Have to feel for Pakistan. No doubt they bowled well but just that Sanga and Mahela used their experience to bat on. Absense of Junaid Khan for Pakistan was just like how Sri Lanka was hit by Eranga's absense in Galle test match against SA.

    Lesson for all test teams here is that do not ever rely on 4 specialist bowlers as 1 being injured will prove to be costly. Very important to have at least 3 part time bowlers in the playing XI by making sure that the top order batsmen can bowl part time. For Pakistan, Hammad Azam should play tests.

    For Sri Lanka, once Sanga and Mahela quit, we must have Shehan Jayasuriya, Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Angelo Perera and Kithuruwan Vithanage in the in the test XI as they can bowl part time meaning we can literally have an 8 man bowling attack in our future test team, which will include the 4 specialist bowlers of course.

  • Terry on August 17, 2014, 3:17 GMT

    Forecasts overcast, believing sunshine otherwise dancing in dark ! 08:46AM IST

  • Pundit on August 17, 2014, 3:14 GMT

    To be honest 6th place is the ranking Pak currently belong to. It is not losing that irks me, it is the fact that we don't have a clue how to bat? Don't these guys play domestic cricket? Why is this still not good enough to at least bat reasonably in the middle. We are not asking Lara like batsmen,just bats who can bat!!! Look England, being in Balance...he is not dramatic, just goes along his own way and does not throw it away, same with Root etc. I love to ask coaches like Flower what the missing ingredient is? These coaches protect their jobs and are not too controversial....need to be hard.

    Any way good luck to both Jaywardene and and Sangakara, former the best bat so this generation without doubt....compared to other big names!!

  • MOHAMMED on August 17, 2014, 1:51 GMT

    Mahela and Sanga are well set and are on course for centuries. As usual waste Ajmal struggled to take wickets. By 5th day SL will celebrate 2-0 series win, Herath will be MoM and MoS, Pakistan will slip to 6th position in test rankings(6th position is home position for Pakistan).

  • Steven on August 17, 2014, 1:41 GMT

    Very appropriate the two old timers are batting together for the last time together even more so if sanga brings up 12000test runs and Mahela is still batting with him at the time I'm sure sanga wouldn't want that moment to take away from mahelas farewell but it would be appropriate cos those two pretty much go hand in hand I prob feel more for herath his nine wickets will be overshadowed by Mahela with is understandable but herath should get some credit for keeping Pakistan to that total I'm surprised herath has only played 50 odd tests I know murali was around but surely he would of been your 2nd spinner on spinning wickets which Sri Lanka play a lot on cos herath is quality but he hasn't got as many games and wickets as he should have had he played more he prob would have around 500 wickets or so by now

  • Waqas on August 17, 2014, 0:08 GMT

    Pakistan has history of creating heroes for other teams. Herath admitted that he was bowling with a discipline. It was Pakistani batsmen who were giving away their wickets. Anyway we should be ready for our relegation to 6th place because SL will either win this match or a miracle will take this test to draw. In either case it would be a great good bye to Mahela.

  • Dummy4 on August 16, 2014, 22:42 GMT

    @Syed Ahmed Tirmizi: Shahid Afridi and Younus Khan aren't fast bowlers

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