x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Pakistan v Sri Lanka: Day four session updates from Abu Dhabi

Session updates from day four of the first Test at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Sri Lanka on the rocks.

Osman Samiuddin will be providing regular session updates from the first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi

Stumps report

ABU DHABI // On the back of Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka lived to fight one more day at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Sangakkara anchored the entire day of resistance, ending on an unbeaten 161 to take Sri Lanka to 298 for five, just 16 runs behind.

Pakistan's sloppiness continued in the day's last session as they dropped Prasanna Jaywardene on 11 to make it six chances fluffed through the day.
Sangakkara was a recipient of this generosity twice earlier in the day but was magnificent otherwise. In the final session, he didn't looked like getting out, accumulating runs with little hassle. He cut well throughout, frustrating Saeed Ajmal in particular who couldn't find the right length.
Pakistan did get some fortune when Angelo Mathews fell leg-before as soon as Umar Gul took the second new ball; it looked high and was another in a series of poor decisions through the Test.
Thereafter Sangakkara and Jayawardene batted without fuss or flash, eminently sensible stuff to bat out the day. Pakistan's bowling threatened throughout, Junaid Khan and Gul good with the second new ball. They're still favourites to win this but they'll know it will not come without a fight.

Tea report

ABU DHABI // As they did on the first day of this Test, Pakistan pushed the door to victory open after a presumably hearty lunch at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Having dropped five chances in the morning, they struck back to take three crucial wickets, leaving Sri Lanka on the brink of their first defeat to Pakistan since 2006. They took tea at 212 for 4, still 102 runs short of making Pakistan bat again.

Kumar Sangakkara's 26th Test hundred - and sixth against Pakistan – drew the one strand of defiance through the session.
It was, as per norm, an eminently watchable hand, square cuts leaning back, drives on one knee through the covers. The ton, fittingly, came with a cut through point, his 11th second innings Test hundred.
But that couldn't deter from the fact that it was Pakistan's session. For all the self-created misfortune, it took a little fortune for the breakthrough: Lahiru Thirimanne slipped a little in setting off for a risky second and was promptly run-out, breaking a 153-run stand.
Ajmal, already settled into a long spell, then dismissed Mahela Jayawardene with one that spun back sharply and when Junaid Khan, Pakistan's newest pace star, ripped through Tillakaratne Dilshan's loose drive, Sri Lanka were faltering.
No more success was to come thereafter as Angelo Mathews gave Sangakkara some much-needed support. It is on their shoulders that Sri Lanka's hopes rest.


Lunch report

Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne stood firm as Sri Lanka began a long rescue job by batting out unscathed the first session of the fourth day's play at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

The pair, who came together off the second ball of the innings yesterday, both made fifties as Sri Lanka ended on 125 for 1, behind now by 189 runs. They initially carried on with the positivity of yesterday afternoon, Sangakkara driving well through cover and straight.

Umar Gul and Aizaz Cheema were struggling to find the right lines, but once Junaid Khan came on, Sri Lanka faltered and were extremely fortunate to find themselves back in the pavilion without further loss. Thirimanne was remarkably dropped thrice, twice on 40 off successive balls from Junaid, both times by Mohammad Hafeez at second slip.

Sangakkara was soon after caught at second slip by Younis Khan, off Junaid again, but replays found the ball had touched grass before being taken. It wasn't to stop, as just before lunch, Hafeez spilt a Thirimanne cut off Saeed Ajmal and then Younis did likewise to a difficult chance at slip off Hafeez.

When they were not being dropped, the Sri Lankan pair found time to play some elegant strokes, Thirimanne sweeping Ajmal well during a maiden Test fifty.

Five chances missed already and Pakistan will hope they don't rue them later in this Test.

Morning report

Pakistan will resume their hunt for an important victory at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi against Sri Lanka on the fourth morning of the first Test.

The home side have dominated the first three days and stand nine cheap wickets away from their first Test win against Sri Lanka since 2006. The visitors need another 267 runs to make Pakistan bat again.

Their bowling coach Champaka Ramanayeke was confident (link to last night's quotes piece) his side had the batting depth to save the Test and Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne looked good as the third day came to a close.

But there was some turn and bounce for spin yesterday and Pakistan believe the wicket is breaking a little, which will bring Saeed Ajmal into play. An engrossing day awaits us.