Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq fell just short of his sixth Test century but his team clung on to their slim hopes of salvaging the second Test against Sri Lanka after a stirring rearguard action in Dubai on Saturday. Pakistan resumed the fourth day’s play trailing Sri Lanka by 91 runs with seven second-innings wickets in hand but Misbah’s dour 97 and wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed’s defiant unbeaten 70 powered them to 330 for seven when heavy drizzle forced an early close.
Ahmed and Saeed Ajmal (seven), whose bowling on the final day could prove crucial, will return on Sunday hoping to stretch the team’s 107-run lead and hope for rain on a day with a cloudy forecast.
Resuming on 132 for three, the responsibility for erasing the deficit was on two of Pakistan’s senior batsmen, Misbah and Younis Khan. The duo adopted contrasting approaches with Younis’s fluency complimented by Misbah’s doggedness which frustrated the Sri Lankans for nearly an hour as Misbah needed 37 deliveries to score his first run of the day.
Younis, who stood well outside the crease to negate any swing, hit Suranga Lakmal through extra cover for the first boundary of the day but runs were not easy to come by. The former Pakistan captain was lured in by the width of a Lakmal delivery and miscued a cut shot to give Prasanna Jayawardene his fourth catch of the innings.
Younis, who made a fluent 77 off 173 balls with five boundaries, added 129 for the fourth wicket with Misbah who looked unperturbed by the slow run rate. Misbah added 52 more runs with Asad Shafiq (23) who fell to Shaminda Eranga with the new ball.
Brief Scores: Pakistan 165 & 330/7 in 123.3 overs (Misbah-ul Haq 97, Younis Khan 77, Sarfaraz Ahmed 70*, S Eranga 2/70, R Herath 2/124) vs Sri Lanka 388