Sri Lanka regained advantage in the Colombo Test on day four thanks to their bowlers, and needed 153 to level the series when heavy rain forced early stumps, much ahead of scheduled close of play. Dhammika Prasad starred with 4 for 92 while Dushmantha Chameera claimed three wickets as Sri Lanka restricted Pakistan to 329 in their second innings, after the resumed the day on a strong 171 for 2. The performance by Sri Lanka’s bowlers negated Azhar Ali, who went on to complete a patient hundred, continuing from there he left off on Saturday.
Prasad, who is not known for his accuracy, bowled a good line and length for a change, and was rewarded for the same. He kept things tight for a start, and frustrated both Younis Khan and Azhar, forcing them to edge deliveries. The partnership was eventually broken by Angelo Mathews as Younis fell caught behind for 40 playing a nothing sort of short. Younis and Azhar had added 73 for the third wicket to go with the 120 that Shehzad and Azhar had compiled the day before. At the 202 for 3, Pakistan were in a decent position. The game turned from here.
Azhar carried on from one end, gathering runs by rotating the strike, but Sri Lanka kept striking from the other end. Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq reached 22 when he was trapped in front, and even the review backed up the on-field umpire decision. Asad Shafiq was caught down the leg side off Chameera’s bowling. Prasad then dismissed the dangerous Sarfraz Ahmed and Yasir Shah in consecutive overs. The Pakistan wicket-keeper was caught behind while Yasir was yorked by the fast bower. By now, Pakistan had crumbled to 303 for 7.
At the other end, Azhar had gone past his century, but Rangana Herath delivered Pakistan with a deadly blow when he had Azhar stumped for a hard fought 117. The left-arm spinner drew Azhar out of his crease, and beat him, leaving his stranded as Dinesh Chandimal did the rest. Azhar hit merely six fours in his 308-ball stay. Chameera then polished off the tail, getting Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz in quick succession to finish with 3 for 53. Rain prevented any further play in the day, and Sri Lanka would now need 153 on the final day to level the series.
-- By A Cricket Correspondent