Despite a setback of losing five second innings wickets for 34 in 14.3 overs, Sri Lanka led Pakistan by 254 runs at the close of play on the third day of the second Test match in Dubai having bowled out the opposition for 262 for a first innings lead of 221 runs. On a day the Dubai track favoured bowlers where 15 wickets fell, Sri Lanka lost openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva cheaply for 7 and 3 respectively followed by the wickets of Sadeera Samarawickrema for 13 and night watchman with five second innings wickets intact having suffered Suranga Lakmal for 1 as Pakistan fought back picking up the prize wicket of skipper Dinesh Candimal as well for a duck.
Pakistan’s fight back was spearheaded by pace bowler Wahab Riaz who claimed 3 wickets for just 10 runs in 3.3 overs. His victims included Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrema and Chandimal. Mendis remained unbeaten on 8 off 20 balls and Sri Lanka’s thrust of extending a 300-plus lead will strongly lie on the star batsman’s shoulders on the fourth day with specialist batsmen Niroshan Dickwella and Dilruwan Perera to lend support. Heartening to the Sri Lankan camp is that the duo have been in good nick in the 2-match series having struck half centuries in the first innings.
Earlier, Pakistan resuming on an overnight 51 for no lost wickets at regular intervalswith debutant paceman Lahiru Gamage making the initial breakthrough clean bowling Shah Masood for 16 with the total on 61. Dilruwan Perera joined in the act accountoing for Sami Aslam trapped LBW for 59 and Suranga Lakmal had Asad Shafiq caught by Kusal Mendis for 12 to reduce Pakistan to 92 for 3. Rangana Herath did further tripping of Babar Azam caught by Samarawickrema for 8 and it was 109 for 4 as Pakistan precipitated. Haris Sohail stood firm with 56. It was a good entry to test cricket for the Sri Lanka U19 fast bowler Gamage who rounded off with his second wicket of Wahab Riaz for 16. Perera and Herath were the chief wreckers with 3 for 72 and 3 for 82 respectively.
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-