By Srian Obeyesekere
Following a fighting 82 by vice captain Dhananjaya de Silva that lifted Sri Lanka from peril of 4 for 91 in the second innings, slow left arm orthodox bowler Prabath Jayasuriya gave Sri Lanka a whiff of a chance to stopping high riding Pakistan sighting a modest 131 for victory, reduced to 48 for 3 on a wet turning track on the penultimate day of the first test at the Galle International Stadium where he discovered the prodigious turn into a dramatic final hour.
Jayasuriya grabbed two of the wickets to fall first getting the edge of Abdullah Shafique’s bat having lured him forward to a vicious delivery spinning away in the seventh over, and soon after deceiving a charging Shan Masood in his tracks to mistiming to short leg. the kill hurry Pakistan lost a third wicket when a hurrying night watchman Noman Ali ran himself out trying to keep Imam-ul-Haq from the strike. Jayasuriya was well supported by Ramesh Mendis as the two spinners sent down 13 of the 15 overs bowled.
The final hour had brought back a hapless Sri Lanka grounded by Pakistan to the dust the last two days, and the Lankan camp would be having their fingers crossed the Galle track would continue to generate the turn that Jayasuriya has reveled in the past where a record 39 of his 50 wickets from 7 previous appearances have been at Galle with two 10-wicket hauls. The signs where there when Pakistan’s spinners Noman and Abrar Ahmed were among the wickets in a turnaround from the Lankan first innings when the pace bowlers led the way.
Sri Lanka was indebted to Dhananjaya de Silva who followed his first innings century top scoring again following opening batsman Nishan Madushka’s fighting half century studded with 7 boundaries and a six. De Silva added 60 for the fifth wicket with Dinesh Chandimalwho made a dogged 28 off 64 inclusive of 3 boundaries, and 76 for the seventh wicket with Ramesh Mendis who defied the Pakistani attack scoring 42 off 70 hitting 3 boundaries and a six.
Sri Lanka 312 (95.2 Overs)
(Dhananjaya de Silva 122, Angelo Mathews 64, Sadeera Samarawickrama 36, Dimuth Karunaratne 29, Vishwa Fernando not out 21, Abrar Ahmed 3/68, Shaheen Shah Afridi 3/86, Naseem Shah 3/90, Agha Salman 1/18)
And 279 (83.1 Overs)
(Dhananjaya de Silva 82, Nishan Madushka 52, Dimuth Karunaratne 18, Dinesh Chandimal 28, Ramesh Mendis 42, Sadeera Samarawickrama 11, Prabath Jayasuriya 10, Abrar Ahmed 3/68, Noman Ali 3/75, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2/64)
Pakistan 461 (121.2 Overs)
(Saud Shakeel n.o. 208, Agha Salman 83, Noman Ali 25, Abrar Ahmed 10, Shan Masood 39, Sarfaraz Ahmed 17, Babar Azam 13, Ramesh Mendis 5/136, Prabath Jayasuriya 3/145, Vishwa Fernando 1/69, Kasun Rajitha 1/77)
And 43/3 (15 Overs)
(Babar Azam n.o. 6, Prabath Jayasuriya 2/17)