x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Younis holds up Sri Lanka as Pakistan struggle in Sharjah Test

A confident century may not be enough of a fightback as the bowlers chip away at the wickets at the end of day three of the third Test.

Younis Khan was clean bowled by Chanaka Welegedara but not before he made an important 122-run contribution.
Younis Khan was clean bowled by Chanaka Welegedara but not before he made an important 122-run contribution.

SHARJAH // Chanaka Welegedara took two wickets with the second new ball, including that of the centurion Younis Khan, to give Sri Lanka the edge in the third Test against Pakistan at Sharjah Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Welegedara, the left-arm paceman, earned the plaudits of his bowling coach.

“He bowled superbly on a flat track and deserves a five-for,” Champaka Ramanayake said. “If we get them out quickly [today] we can force a win here, which would be great.”

Welegedara, 30, dismissed Younis (100) with the first delivery of the second new ball and then had Asad Shafiq (16) in the same spell to leave Pakistan at 282 for six  at the close on the third day.

Sri Lanka, who scored 413 in their first innings, still lead by 131 runs, and are seeking a big first-innings lead to give them a chance of levelling the series after losing the second Test by nine wickets in Dubai.

With just two overs to go the left-arm spinner Rangana Herath removed Adnan Akmal, leg before wicket, for seven to leave Sri Lanka on top.

At the close, the Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq, who reached his 13th half-century in the penultimate over, was unbeaten on 50 and Abdul Rehman was three not out.

Mohsin Khan, the Pakistan coach, deplored the loss of two quick wickets. “It’s a pity that we lost two wickets at the end,” said the former opener. “I would have liked Younis still batting, but he played wonderfully well for his hundred.”

The first two sessions had belonged to Pakistan as Younis added 98 for the third wicket with Azhar Ali (53) and another 100 with Misbah for the fourth wicket.

Misbah was mostly blocking before hitting the 53rd delivery he faced for his first boundary, ensuring Pakistan did not lose sight of winning 2-0, which they must do to jump one place in the Test rankings and replace Sri Lanka at No 5.

After tea, both the batsmen upped the tempo and took Pakistan past the follow-on mark of 213. Sri Lanka delayed the second new ball until the 91st over, but once they did Welegedara bowled Younis with a sharp incoming delivery. During his 211-ball knock, Younis hit 12 boundaries and two sixes.

He had completed his 18th Test hundred in the last over before tea, taking 188 balls which included 11 fours and a six.
Welegedara then had Shafiq caught behind.