By BV Swagath
Stumps on Day 3: Pakistan are staring at a certain defeat on Day 4 of the opening Test at Galle. At Stumps on Day 3, the visitors have been reduced to 36 for 3 after being asked to chase an impossible target of 510.
The Lankans declared their second innings midway at 137 for 5 in the final session leaving Pakistan with 16 overs to negotiate. Pakistan once again got off to a terrible start losing their first wicket in the form of Mohammad Hafeez (4) in the 5th over after he was sucked into a false drive to a pitched up outswinger from Nuwan Kulasekara.
With less than 15 minutes to go for the close of play, Pakistan lost Azhar Ali (7) after he dabbed a turning delivery from Rangana Herath pitched on middle. The result was a thick edge which was caught low by a diving Thilan Samaraweera at second slip. And with just about five minutes before the close, Nuwan Kulasekara nipped one back off the seam to clean up the left-handed Taufeeq Umar (10) through the gate.
At the crease for Pakistan are Younis Khan (0*) along with night watchman Saeed Ajmal, who flashed his way to an unbeaten 11* with two streaky boundaries.
Tea on Day 3: Sri Lanka extended their overall lead to 465 runs by Tea after taking a surprising decision of not enforcing the follow on. One has to say that the Lankans were slightly pegged back at 93 for 3 in the 26 overs they batted in the post lunch session. The run rate was pulled down a great deal thanks to good bowling spells from Saeed Ajmal and Junaid Khan.
It was a flying start for Sri Lanka in their second innings. With Dilshan on song, the runs came in thick and fast and Pakistan could only find their first breakthrough after conceding 81 runs and bowling 20 overs. Tharanga Paranavitana (25) had a second failure in this match, this time coming down the track to Saeed Ajmal and getting deceived in the air and then finding the drifter hit his back thigh plumb infront of middle.
Junaid Khan, who was troubling Dilshan (56 from 58 balls with 9 fours) bowling from round the sticks and reversing the ball in both the directions got his first wicket of the Test Match. However, Junaid was lucky as Dilshan was wrongly given caught behind when the ball had nipped back and brushed the pad high on its way to the keeper.
At the stroke of Tea, first innings hero Kumar Sangakkara (1) drove Saeed Ajmal casually to extra covers in the air to lose his wicket. At the crease for SL are Mahela Jayawardene (7*) and Thilan Samaraweera (0*).
Lunch on Day 3: Pakistan have been bundled out for a paltry 100 by lunch on Day 3 to concede a huge first innings lead of 372 runs at Galle. The visitors now could face a follow on which depends on the Sri Lankan team management wther to enforce it or not.
There was an early breakthrough in the morning for the hosts as Younis Khan was trapped in the crease by an arm ball from Herath . Younis was dismissed for 29 (from 91 balls) lbw to a delivery which might have taken a tiny inside edge onto his pad. Next to go was Wicket Keeper Adnan Akmal (9), who was run out after his partner Mohammad Ayub was guilty of ball watching and not responding to the second run call from the former.
Within no time, Pakistan lost their 8th wicket with Suraj Randiv having the left-handed Abdur Rehman lbw to a drifter followed up by Herath ending the stubborn stay of Ayub (25 from 103 balls) with an armer. The last wicket fell at the stroke of Lunch with Umar Gul top edging a slog sweep off Suraj Randiv. The Lankan spinners – Rangana Herath finished with 21-6-3-30 while Suraj Randiv had an easy outing taking 4 for 13 in just 9.3 overs.
Build up to Day 3: Pakistan resume Day 3 in a huge mess at 48 for 5 with Younis Khan at the crease along with debutant Mohammad Ayub. Both these specialist batsmen need to dig in deep as Pakistan are 424 runs in deficit and facing a follow on threat.