Sri Lanka fight back in Dubai


Kumar Sangakkara was again the force holding Pakistan at bay as Sri Lanka fought their way towards parity on day three of the second Test.

Kumar Sangakkara was again the force holding Pakistan at bay as Sri Lanka fought their way towards parity on day three of the second Test.

Although they conceded a first-innings deficit of 164, Sri Lanka had the better of the last two sessions and closed on 88 for one with Sangakkara and Tharanga Paranavitana having battled their way through a tough last hour.

By the time they went to stumps Sri Lanka were just 76 runs adrift, despite sporting a run rate of under two per over for the innings as Paranavitana crept to 42 not out and Sangakkara finished unbeaten on 29.

Lahiru Thirimanne was the only wicket to have fallen, bowled by Mohammad Hafeez in the third over after tea.

In spite of their slow scoring rate, it was another triumph for Sri Lanka after they'd skittled the Pakistani lower order cheaply in the second session.

After dominating the morning's exchanges, Pakistan lost their way after the luncheon interval, scoring just 30 runs for their last four wickets as Tillakaratne Dilshan and Rangana Herath ran through the tail.

Asad Shafiq and Adnan Akmal (41) looked to continue their impressive partnership into the afternoon, but while Akmal began to shine after a quiet patch, Shafiq never really got going again.

The right-hander was dismissed for 59 by Dhammika Prasad after steering the ball straight to Jayawardene in the gully for an easy catch.

The remainder of the innings is best forgotten by the Pakistani lower order, with neither Abdur Rehman or Umar Gul able to hang around. Rehamn should receive an almighty rollicking from his coach after throwing his wicket away with an extravagant attempt at a slog sweep.

Earlier, Sri Lanka had toiled with limited success throughout the morning as Pakistan extended their lead to 134 at lunch.

The day began brightly for the Sri Lankans, with Chanaka Welegedara picking up the wicket of Pakistani skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (41) in the second over of the session.

Misbah was guilty of prodding meekly at a delivery outside off, edging the ball to Jayawardene at second slip.

While Jayawardene was guilty of dropping a sitter earlier in the encounter, he poached an impressive catch this time around, diving to his right.

However, Sri Lanka's fielding woes continued when Angelo Mathews put Saeed Ajmal (20) down in the gully. Luckily for the all-rounder, the nightwatchman handed him a chance for redemption soon after, with Welegedara picking up the wicket he should have had a few overs earlier.

Meanwhile, Shafiq had begun to assert himself on proceedings and the middle order man continued to do so with Akmal providing good support.