Sri Lanka closed the second day quite in the box seat having totaled a tall 482 with opener Dimuth Karunaratne going on to stroke a marathon knock of 196 off 405 balls and containing 19 boundaries and a six to which Pakistan had replied with 51 for no loss. Indeed, the desert Dubai track proved to be a rich run harvest for Sri Lanka who is inching towards a long sought series win in test cricket from a recent drought. Still 431 runs ahead and going in to the third day on Sunday the Sri Lankan camp basked in control of the game looking well poised to achieve just that where Pakistan face a big ask of reversing the tight rein Dinesh Chandimal’s charges have on the game.
As it is, Karunaratne championed Sri Lanka’s cause towards igniting what would be a historic pink ball Test triumph; a triumph that would be a type of desert gold strike for the hungering Sri Lankans in so much as becoming the first ever cricketing nation in test cricket history to win a coloured ball test match. That Karunaratne fronted the treble edged cause of a badly needed test and series triumph with the pink ball mix of a record to boot underlined the magnificence of tremendous purpose and concentration in run making. For, the United Arab Emirates terrain is second home to a resurgent new look Pakistan whose cricket has been on an ominous rise since winning the ICC Champions Trophy in the ODI form recently.
Karunaratne’s run orgy was helped by a massive 245 runs for the fourth wicket with skipper Dinesh Chandimal. They added a further 28 to their overnight partnership before the skipper fell LBW for a well compiled 62 off 195 balls containing six hits to the ropes. The run feast continued through an 88-run fifth wicket alliance between Karunaratne and Niroshan Dickwella who struck a rapid 53-ball 52 inclusive of 5 boundaries, and 59-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Dilruwan Perera who rose to the occasion with a game 76-ball 58 with seven boundaries. Twenty-nine year old Karunaratne was unfortunate to miss out on a well deserved double hundred falling four runs short when he was bowled by Wahab Riaz.
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-