Late strikes with the new ball left Pakistan on 289 for seven at the close on the first day of the third and final Test against Sri Lanka yesterday.
Pakistan’s batsmen had dominated much of the day, with opener Khurram Manzoor scoring 93 and Mohammad Yousuf 90 after sharing a 167-run stand for the third wicket.
However, three wickets fell for just two runs in the final 15 minutes of the evening session as Sri Lanka hit back.
Left-arm pace man Thilan Thushara was the pick of the bowlers, dismissing Fawad Alam (16) and Younus Khan (2) in the morning and then sparking the late Pakistan collapse by trapping Shoaib Malik leg before wicket for 45.
Sri Lanka, 2-0 up in the series, had Pakistan in early trouble as the ball swung and seamed in overcast conditions in the morning, but Yousuf and Manzoor steadied the innings as batting became easier in the afternoon as cloud cover was replaced by bright sunshine and Sri Lanka’s bowlers were forced to toil hard.
Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara even turned to the part-time medium pace of former captain Mahela Jayawardene in a bid to conjure up a breakthrough.
It was Chaminda Vaas, who was included for his farewell Test in place of spinner Ajantha Mendis, who made the breakthrough, finding Manzoor’s outside edge and Jayawardene took the catch at slip.
Minutes later, Yousuf threw his wicket away trying to complete a foolish second run after a miss-field and was run out.
Malik and Misbah ul-Haq (27) steadied the Pakistan innings once again with a 75-run stand, before Sri Lanka took the second new ball.
Malik was the first to go, pinned leg before wicket by an in-swinger, before Nuwan Kulasekera found the inside edge of Misbah’s bat and then bowled Umar Gul.