COLOMBO // Shoaib Malik scored 106 not out and put on two century stands today to help Pakistan reach 300 for five and lead by 366 runs over Sri Lanka at stumps on the third day of the third and final Test. Malik hit 10 boundaries and two sixes in nearly five hours. He added 119 with Misbah-ul-Haq (65) and an unbeaten partnership of 114 with Kamran Akmal (60 not out) as Pakistan bid to deny Sri Lanka a 3-0 series sweep.
Akmal's ninth half-century came off 68 balls, including six boundaries and a six. Misbah was the only batsman to be dismissed after the morning session, when three wickets fell. He hit five boundaries and a six in 149 balls before he chased a ball outside off stump from Angelo Mathews and was caught by the wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara. "We worked hard and learnt from our mistakes," Malik said. "Today I was thinking one thing: no matter what, I 'll just go there and play my natural game. This is the message I got from the captain and the management."
Pakistan lost their first wicket for the day when opener Fawad Alam on 16 scooped a return catch to bowler Thilan Thushara with six runs added to the overnight score of 16 for one. The Pakistan captain Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf shared a 32-run partnership before Khan was out lbw for 16 to a dubious decision by the English umpire Ian Gould. Television replays showed that Khan got an inside edge to an inswinger from Nuwan Kulasekera before the ball hit high on a pad.
Yousuf was next out for 23, pushing forward to an away-turning delivery by Herath and edging the ball to Sangakkara. Regular wicketkeeper Tillakaratne Dilshan did not take the field for Pakistan's second innings because of a fractured finger and a cut on the eyebrow after being hit by a ball while batting on Tuesday. Herath was the best of Sri Lanka's bowlers in the second innings with figures of two for 113.
The Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss said his team missed a second spinner who would have added more variety to an attack of four seam bowlers. "We certainly won't be giving up. We'll be trying to bat for a long time and score the runs whatever that is, it's not impossible to bat on this wicket," Bayliss said. "We have got some quality players who have scored big runs on this type of wickets before."
Batting first after losing the toss, Pakistan made 299 in the first innings before dismissing Sri Lanka for 233. Sri Lanka lost their last five wickets for 69 in the post-tea session on Tuesday despite Mahela Jayawardene's 79. Meanwhile, match referee Alan Hurst of Australia reprimanded the Pakistan leg-spin bowler Danish Kaneria for using foul language on the field, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement.
The incident took place after Kaneria took the wicket of Mathews during the second day's play on Tuesday. Hurst also warned Kaneria about his future conduct after the player pleaded guilty to the offence during an inquiry. "Swearing is expressly forbidden by the ICC code and in this case it was picked up by people present at the ground and the television microphones so the potential for negatively influencing spectators or viewers at home, including children, is clear," the statement quoted Hurst at saying.
Any player found guilty of swearing and using foul language can be fined up to 50 per cent of his match fee but Hurst imposed a minimum penalty because he was satisfied that the words came more in frustration than anger. The bowler also apologised for the incident, Hurst said. *AP