Sri Lanka was dangling on the ropes on 212 for 7 wickets chasing a mammoth 476-run victory target in the second test marked by a historic ton up top four Pakistan batsmen Abid Ali (174), Shan Masood (135), skipper Azhar Ali (118) and Babar Azam (100 n.o.) on the fourth day at Karachi. It was the second such feat after India’s top four centurions Dinesh Karthik, Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar against Bangladesh in the first innings of the Mirpur Test in 2007.
What was decimating for Sri Lanka was the caving in on what was regarded as a docile run making wicket that Pakistan’s bowlers got on top save for the unbeaten 102 by opening batsman Oshada Fernando and wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella’s 65 off 76 balls with 11 boundaries. Fernando’s maiden Test ton off 175 balls inclusive of 13 boundaries was like the last post for his country on a day front liners skipper Dimuth Karunaratne (16) , Kusal Mendis (0) in a further disastrous tour performance, Angelo Mathews (19), Dinesh Chandimal (2) and Dhananjaya de Silva (0) perished. In that vein, it was disappointing that young Fernando, who fronted a praiseworthy rearguard knock, did not find the desired cushioning support upfront that could have lifted Sri Lanka.
Top of the bowlers for Pakistan was Naseem Shah with 3 for 31 supplemented by one wicket each by the rest – Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Abbas, Yasir Shah and Haris Sohail.
Pakistan 191 and 555/3 decl.
(Abid Ali 174, Shan Masood 135, Azhar Ali 118, Babar Azham 100 n.o. , Lahiru Kumara 2/139)
Sri Lanka 271 and 212 for 7
(Oshada Fernando 102 n.o., Niroshan Dickwella 65, Naseem Shah 3/31)
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-