Sri Lanka strike late in Sharjah


Pakistan progressed to 282 for six at the close on day tree of the third Test in Sharjah where they will be ruing the loss of two late wickets.

Pakistan progressed to 282 for six at the close on day tree of the third Test in Sharjah, where they will be ruing the loss of two late wickets.
As was the case on day two, Sri Lanka struck twice in the closing stages of the day to take the shine off what had otherwise been a solid day of toil for Pakistan.
Younis Khan was the man that did most of the damage for the 'home' team, with the former skipper notching up an impressive innings of 122.
It certainly wasn't a consistently flashy knock; indeed, it took the right-hander 30 balls just to get off the mark. However, periods of patience were mixed well with bursts of aggression as he notched up his 17th Test ton.
Having lost two wickets in the final session on day two, Pakistan began day three in circumspect fashion, with Younis and Azhar Ali seeing out three consecutive maidens first up. This would prove to be a forbearer for an incredible run of nine maidens on the trot later in the day.
But with Pakistan one-nil up in the series, the onus was on Sri Lanka to attack and Pakistan did what they needed to do by standing firm.
Chanka Welegedara and Kosala Kulasekara were able to garner some movement through the air, but while they were consistent in line for the most part, any err was punished by Younis and Azhar.
Having been forced off the field by an injured finger, Kulasekara returned after lunch to make the vital breakthrough. It was Azhar (53) who departed, bowled by a delivery that the debutant got to jag back in sharply at the right-hander as he looked to play off the back foot.
The partnership of 98 was the highest for the fourth wicket at the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium, a sign of the stadium's youth but more importantly of the solidity provided by the pair.
The wicket brought skipper Misbah-ul-Haq to the crease and he laboured to two off 52 before making his way to 16 at tea. But it was the score of the man at the other end that mattered heading towards the break, with Younis bringing up his ton on the verge of the interval.
The new ball was available at the resumption of play but Sri Lankan skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan decided against making immediate use of it. He may be ruing his decision as, ten overs later when he called for the new cherry, Chanaka Welegedara captured the key scalp of Younis (122) with its very first ball.
The modus operandi was similar to that which saw for Azhar – although the bowler was different this time -with the ball jagging back to beat the defences of the centurion.
Pakistan had faced 20 overs before the end of play on day two and were two down when the bails were removed. Following the dismissal of Younis, there were 20 overs still to play and once again two batsmen where dismissed before the day was done.
Asad Shafiq (16) became Welegedara's third victim of the innings when he edged behind before Adnan Akmal (7) was caught in front by the spin of Rangana Herath.
At the close, Pakistan trailed by 131 runs with four wickets remaining.