Sarfaraz keeps Pakistan ahead

Wicketkeeper-batsman scores an unbeaten 70 to put Pakistan ahead by 107 with three wickets in hand going into final day.

Misbah-ul-Haq led Pakistan’s resistance with a gritty 97 to frustrate Sri Lanka on the fourth day of the second Test in Dubai on Saturday(January 11).

Misbah missed his sixth Test hundred by three runs, but a career-best unbeaten 70 by Sarfaraz Ahmed and a defiant 32 by Bilawal Bhatti kept Pakistan’s fight intact to take it to 330 for 7 at close on a cloudy day.

When bad light and a drizzle ended play 15 overs before schedule, Saeed Ajmal was batting alongside Sarfaraz on 7 and Pakistan were leading by 107 runs with a full day’s play remaining.

Sarfaraz added an invaluable 67 runs for the seventh wicket with Bhatti to frustrate the Sri Lankan bowlers who bowled with discipline and patience on a pitch which had little response for bowlers.

Sri Lanka will look for an early wrap up of Pakistan’s second innings and knock off the runs required to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series after the first Test ended in a draw in Abu Dhabi last week.

When Rangana Herath, the left-arm spinner, spun one across Misbah’s bat to hit the before tea, it looked like the match would be over soon, but Sarfaraz and Bhatti kept the fight going before Eranga bowled Bhatti.

Misbah, who took 38 balls to add to his overnight score of 53, hit eight boundaries and a six. He added an invaluable 129 for the fourth wicket with Younus Khan (77), 52 with Asad Shafiq (23) for the fifth wicket and 45 for the sixth with Sarfaraz to help Pakistan avoid the innings defeat before falling to Herath, who has figures of 2 for 124.

Nuwan Pradeep had the best figures of 2 for 50, while Shaminda Eranga took 2 for 70.

Pakistan resumed on 132 for 3 and needed Younus and Misbah to dig deep but Younus tried to drive a slightly wide delivery from Lakmal, managing only to edge it to Prasanna Jayawardene behind the wickets, who held his eighth catch of the match. Younus batted for 235 minutes and hit five boundaries.

Sri Lanka took the second new ball with the score at 198 for 4 and were rewarded in the second over when Eranga had Shafiq caught in the slips. Both Misbah and Sarfraz survived confident leg-before appeals – with the skipper overturning the on-field umpire’s decision on 78 to add to Sri Lanka’s day-long frustration.

(Courtesy: International Cricket Council)