Jayawardene leads Sri Lanka A's fightback
Sri Lanka A 225 and 403 (Jayawardene 143, Mubarak 80, Bandara 79) lead Pakistan A 234 (Suraj 6-73) by 392 runs
Prasanna Jayawardene and Jehan Mubarak ran into form at a crucial juncture and steered Sri Lanka A to an imposing position at the end of an absorbing third day of the second Test at Dambulla.
With Sri Lanka A reeling at 16 for 3, Mubarak joined Suraj Mohamed, the nightwatchman, and gradually got on top of the Pakistan A bowling which had at one time threatened to run through the batting line-up just the way they had done in the first innings. Although Mohamed was dismissed for 15, Mubarak found a superb ally in Jayawardene, his vice-captain, and the pair completely turned tables on Pakistan A's hope of victory which looked a possibility at the end of the second day when Sri Lanka A led by only seven runs with seven wickets in hand.
They added 81 for the seventh wicket in 96 minutes before Mubarak was run out for 80, when Jayawardene called him for a sharp single and a direct hit from Hasan Raza left him short. Mubarak had batted for 206 minutes and his innings contained 15 sparkling fours. Following his dismissal, Pakistan A grabbed two quick wickets to reduce Sri Lanka A to 177 for 8, but Malinga Bandara thwarted their bid to run through. He joined Jayawardene in a massive ninth-wicket partnership that produced 171 exciting runs and took Sri Lanka A to safety.
Bandara struck 10 fours in making 79 off 115 balls, but the day's batting belonged to Jayawardene, for whom this series has been one of personal triumph. He started it with an unbeaten 66 at Asgiriya and followed it up with a fighting 59 in the first innings. Here he came to the wicket with Sri Lanka A facing defeat at 96 for 6 and was last man out at 403.
Jayawardene had showed his tremendous promise earlier as well and displayed his entire repertoire of strokes to make a career best 143 off 171 balls. In the 281 minutes he stayed at the wicket he stroked 18 fours in a fantastic display.
Pakistan A faced a daunting victory target of 395 runs off a minimum of 98 overs on the final day.