Sri Lanka boost lead in third Test


Sri Lanka increased their overall lead to 141 after losing an early wicket on the fourth day of the third and final Test against Pakistan at Sharjah Stadium here on Sunday. Sri Lanka, aiming to level the three-Test series after losing the second Test by nine wickets in Dubai, moved to 68-1 at tea after losing skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan in their second innings.
At the break, Kumar Sangakkara was unbeaten on 43 and opener Tharanga Paranavitana was 19 not out, as Sri Lanka look to score faster and set a target for Pakistan to force a result. Pakistan lead the three-Test series 1-0 after winning the second Test by nine wickets in Dubai. The first Test in Abu Dhabi ended in a draw. Earlier, left-arm paceman Chanaka Welegadara took his maiden five-wicket haul, finishing with 5-87 after Misbah-ul Haq missed his hundred by just 11 runs as Pakistan were dismissed for 340. Sri Lanka had made 413 in their first innings. The lanky paceman improved on his previous best of 4-87 he took against India at Ahmedabad in 2009. But despite Welegedara’s effort, it was Misbah’s fighting knock of 89 which brought Pakistan closer before the 37-year-old right-handed batsman fell 10 minutes before lunch, top edging a sweep off spinner Suraj Randiv. Misbah hit seven boundaries and a six during his 261-ball knock. He added an invaluable 47 runs for the ninth wicket with Saeed Ajmal (12 not out) after Pakistan lost Abdul Rehman off the last ball of the first over of the day, caught in the slips off Welegedara. It could have been worse for Pakistan if the Sri Lankan fielders had not dropped Misbah three times. Wicket-keeper Kaushal Silva failed to grab a faint edge on a defensive push off left-arm spinner Rangana Herath when the batsman was on 57.
Two runs later Misbah’s uppish drive off Welegedara went between the hands off Angelo Mathews at mid-off and then at 67 Misbah was let off by Tharanga Paranavitana off the same bowler. The Pakistan captain took full advantage of the lapses, hitting Welegedara for a straight six and four to take his team’s total past the 300 mark. In between Herath dismissed Umar Gul for five, but Ajmal provided Misbah the much needed assistance to bring their team closer to the Sri Lankan total. Welegedara finished the innings when he bowled number 11 Junaid Khan for nought. Herath finished with 3-85.