DUBAI: Pakistan enjoyed their most productive session of the Test where they fetched three important wickets but Sri Lanka’s position on top hasn’t been threatened, with the visitors heading out for dinner at 461 for 7. It took only five balls in the session for Niroshan Dickwella to reach his half-century but soon after, he perished, much to the home side’s delight.
Mohammad Abbas tasted success for the first time in the Test with an ordinary delivery that came in a touch, despite being bowled wide of the batsman. Dickwella got an inside edge while attempting to play an expansive stroke off it.
But his dismissal didn’t rob the visitors of any momentum as Dilruwan Perera followed a similar approach. With Dimuth Karunaratne consolidating at one end, Dilruwan took on the aggressive route as he stepped down to Yasir Shah for his first boundary over mid-on. The legspinner’s move to slip one in short didn’t work as well as the batsman rocked back to pull him over the midwicket region.
At one point, he managed to fetch one boundary per over for successive overs as Karunaratne at the other end went past his highest Test score. Yasir, who had to do the bulk of the bowling, especially in Mohammad Amir’s absence, continued to leak runs despite fetching a lot of turn from the surface. And that forced the skipper to rest him for a while with Haris Sohail getting a go.
Pakistan capitalised on a five-over period where both batsmen were happy to bide their time. Karunaratne, batting on 196, played a rare loose shot against Wahab Riaz to agonisingly miss a maiden double ton. The ball took the inside edge, hit his thigh and went on to disturb the stumps.
The wicket did help Pakistan pull back the run rate further as Sri Lanka went through seven overs without hitting even a single boundary. Dilruwan, who reached a half-century off 58 balls, finally broke the duck by pulling Yasir for his seventh boundary but in the same over, he was cleaned up by the leggie round his legs.
Rangana Herath and Suranga Lakmal ensured that there were no more wickets lost in the session but the duo may take an aggressive approach in the final session in search of some quick runs.