Sun, Jun 28, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Pakistan fight back against Sri Lanka

CALLING IT A DAY:Following the day’s play, Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkarra announced his intention to retire during the home series against India in August

AFP, COLOMBO

Pakistan’s Azhar Ali avoids a bouncer against Sri Lanka on the third day of the second Test in Colombo, Sri Lanka, yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

Pakistan’s batsmen bounced back after their first-innings debacle to throw open the second Test against Sri Lanka at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo yesterday.

The tourists, who conceded a lead of 177 runs after being dismissed for 138 in the first innings, closed the third day’s play at 171-2 in their second knock.

When bad light halted play an hour early, Pakistan trailed by just six runs with eight wickets in hand, promising a keen tussle between bat and ball over the next two days.

Sri Lanka, looking for a series-leveling win after losing the first Test in Galle, removed Mohammad Hafeez cheaply for 8 before lunch, caught in the slips by Kumar Sangakkara off Angelo Mathews.

Opener Ahmed Shehzad hit 69 during a second-wicket stand of 120 with Azhar Ali, the pair batting through the post-lunch session to defy the Sri Lanka bowlers.

Shehzad was dismissed off the first ball after tea, top-edging a hook off Dhammika Prasad, but Younis Khan joined Azhar to put on 42 for the unbroken third wicket.

Azhar was unbeaten on 64 and Younis, determined to make his 100th match special after falling for 6 in the first innings, closed the day on a watchful 23.

Sri Lanka, who began on their overnight score of 304-9 after a delayed start due to bad weather, were dismissed for 315 in their first innings in reply to Pakistan’s 138.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah finished with figures of six for 96 after last man Dushmantha Chameera was caught superbly by Younis running back from the slips, leaving Rangana Herath unbeaten on 18.

Yasir had claimed seven wickets in Sri Lanka’s second innings in Galle to fashion Pakistan’s 10-wicket victory.

Sri Lanka were dealt a scare in the field when Chameera, the debutant seamer, went off the field in the morning session after sending down just nine deliveries, but he returned after lunch to bowl seven more overs and conceded 28 runs without any success.

Veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath was also wicketless in 14 overs, while Prasad returned with one for 46 from 13.3 overs.

Following the day’s play, Sri Lanka batting great Sangakkara ended speculation about his future, saying he would retire during the home series against India in August.

“This is my time to call it a day,” Sangakkara, 37, told reporters on the sidelines of the second Test.

The left-hander said he would play two of the three Tests against India that are due to take place in Sri Lanka in August. The exact dates and venues have not yet been announced.

Sangakkara, the world’s leading Test run-getter, said he would also skip the third and final Test of the ongoing series against Pakistan starting in Pallekele, Sri Lanka, on Friday.

“I wanted to retire after the World Cup, but was requested by the selectors to stay on,” he said. “I agreed to play four more Tests.”

Sangakkara’s 12,305 runs and 38 centuries are the most by any batsman still playing Tests, way above second-placed Alastair Cook of England, who has 9,000 runs and 27 centuries.

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