Calm Mathews puts Sri Lanka in control


Sri Lanka were in control of the third and final Test against Pakistan at stumps on day three in Pallekele, thanks to skipper Angelo Mathews' unbeaten half century that saw them to a lead of 291 runs.

Sri Lanka ended the day on 228 for five, having been 35 for three at one stage, and Mathews was the main reason for the recovery and sat on 77 not out when bad light stopped play.

The day began with Pakistan on 209 for nine, and the last wicket was not long in falling. It took just two overs and six runs for Imran Khan to depart. He was out for a duck to Tharindu Kaushal, who ended with three wickets.

As such, Sri Lanka started their second innings already 63 runs to the good, having made 278 in their first dig, and it was fortunate that they did have those runs in the banks as Rahat Ali quickly removed Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne.

At lunch, Sri Lanka were on 55 for three, with Mathews on 11. His day was not a brisk one, but it was vital to the cause, as only two Test sides, Sri Lanka and India, have ever chased 250-plus to win a Test in Sri Lanka.

Upul Tharanga and Jehan Mubarak were the two to stick with their skipper, with the former making 48 before falling to Yasir Shah, while the spinner also bagged Mubarak for 35 later in the day. He had faced 94 deliveries.

Mathews brought up his half ton in the evening, off 104 balls, and by the time the light meter came out, he'd faced 177 balls, while Dinesh Chandimal was on 39 off 47 balls. They go into day four with five wickets in hand.