Sri Lanka sent back Abdullah Shafique for 16 as Pakistan was on 89 for 1 chasing a massive 508 for victory after the host team declared on 360 for 8 following a super knock of 109 by Dhananjaya de Silva and 61 by skipper Dimuth Karunaratne on the fourth day of the second Test of the World Test Championship at the Galle International Stadium on Wednesday. Dhananjaya struck 16 boundaries in his 171-ball innings sharing in a 121-run partnership with Karunaratne for the sixth wicket as the overnight pair set the tone to throw Pakistan a daunting target having come together the previous day with Sri Lanka wobbling on 117 for 5.
De Silva, who registered his ninth test century in a display of characteristic technical flair the 30-year old right hander is reputed for having taken strike with the score on 4 for 100, mounted the ideal pathway for a mountainous second innings score as he and Karunaratne blurted the Pakistani attack in taking Sri Lanka from an overnight 176 for 5 to 243 when Karunaratne was dismissed by Nauman Ali who had him caught by Abdullah Shafique. The Lankan skipper, who had come down the order due to a lower back injury, had perfected a great job in the circumstances handicapped as he was during his 105-ball knock fronted by three boundaries.
The Lankan declaration came after Dhananjaya de Silva was run out having found an able ally in Ramesh Mendis coming in at No.9 in adding 82 for the ninth wicket. Mendis remained unbeaten on 45 off 54 balls containing 5 boundaries in perfecting a fine all-round performance to go with his 5 for 47 in wrecking Pakistan for 231. Dunith Wellalage made 18 off 27.
Sri Lanka’s early strike in removing the dangerous Abdullah Shafique, who did it for Pakistan in a ton up first Test chase, courtesy Prabath Jayasuriya who had him caught by Wellalage, has enhanced the Lankans victory pursuit with Pakistan needing 419 on the final day. Imam-ul-Haq was unbeaten on 46 off 80 inclusive of 4 boundaries together with skipper Babar Azam on 26 off 38 who had struck 2 boundaries and a six as the second wicket pair face the herculean challenge of taking their side to victory or staving off defeat. It will be as much the ultimate test for the Lankan bowling attack to deliver on the sky high leverage in their favour
CHIEF SCORES: Sri Lanka 378 And 360/8 decl. (103 Overs) (Dhananjaya de Silva 109, Dimuth Karunaratne 61, Ramesh Mendis n.o. 45, Naseem Shah 2/44, Mohammad Nawaz 2/75) Pakistan 231 And 89/1 (imam-ul-Haq n.o. 46, Babar Azam n.o. 26, Prabath Jayasuriya 1/46).