Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014

Rangana Herath puts Sri Lanka on verge of victory

Rangana Herath (top) celebrates with Angelo Mathews, Mahela Jayawardene (R), Kaushal Silva (2nd L) and Lahiru Thirimanne after taking the wicket of Asad Shafiq during the second and final Test in Colombo. (Source: Reuters) Herath (top) celebrates after taking the wicket of Asad Shafiq during the second Test in Colombo. (Source: Reuters)
Reuters | Colombo | Posted: August 17, 2014 6:29 pm | Updated: August 17, 2014 7:17 pm

Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath captured four more Pakistan wickets to take his match tally to a career best 13 as Sri Lanka edged closer to victory in Mahela Jayawardene’s farewell Test on Sunday.

Pakistan, chasing 271 to level the series, were struggling on 127 for seven wickets by the close of the fourth day of the second Test.

Sarfraz Ahmed (38) and Wahab Riaz (2) will resume at the crease on the fifth day with Pakistan trailing by 144 runs.

Sri Lanka lead the two-Test series 1-0.

Pakistan began their run chase after tea but they struggled from the outset and fast bowler Dhammika Prasad snapped up the wickets of openers Khurram Manzoor (10) and Ahmed Shehzad (8).

Herath, who took nine wickets in the first innings, continued to torment the Pakistan batsmen and had Azhar Ali (10) and out-of-form captain Misbah-ul-Haq (3) both caught at slip by Jayawardene before Younus Khan (8) was trapped LBW.

Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed tried to rescue the innings with a 55-run stand but Herath managed to separate them when Shafiq was stumped by wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella for 32.

Pakistan also lost the wicket of Abdur Rehman (5) when he was given out LBW to Dilruwan Perera after failing to offer a stroke to a ball that spun in from off stump.

Earlier, Jayawardene signed off from Test cricket with the bat with his fiftieth half-century as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 282 in their second innings.

Sri Lanka’s last five wickets added 35 runs in the afternoon session with captain Angelo Mathews remaining unbeaten on 43 when the innings ended.

Wahab Riaz finished off the Sri Lankan innings with three wickets while two batsmen were run out.

The left-arm paceman struck twice in one over after lunch to remove Dickwella (21) and Perera for a duck – both trapped LBW – and then bowled Herath, before the batsman had scored, to finish with figures of three for 76.

LUCKY TO SURVIVE

Prasad did not last long after hitting a six and a four in his score of 19 as he was run out when Mathews tried to retain the strike and called him for a quick single. Last man Chanaka Welegedara was also run out without scoring.

Ajmal, who bowled unchanged throughout the day, finished with figures of three for 89 off 46 overs.

On a pitch offering bounce and sharp turn, Sri Lanka struggled against Ajmal, who took all three wickets in the morning session.

The Pakistan attack was still without paceman Junaid Khan, who did not take the field after suffering a blow on the left side of his head on the third day against Dhammika Prasad.

The visitors picked up the experienced pair of Kumar Sangakkara continued…

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