SL vs Pak, 2nd Test

Lunch Pakistan 188 for 5 (Babar 76*, Jayasuriya 3-86) and 231 need another 320 runs to win vs Sri Lanka 378 and 360

Pakistan lost Imam-ul-Haq in the third over of the day, but then, with Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan at the crease, seemed to be cruising towards a draw. The pair were rattling along at more than 3.5 runs an over, with Sri Lanka’s spinners extracting little from the pitch, and barely creating even the half chances you would expect on a fifth day in Galle.
In the last half-hour before lunch, though, Ramesh Mendis and Prabath Jayasuriya suddenly brought the game to life. There were close lbw shouts against Babar, deliveries that were beginning to test both edges, and edges that were falling short of the close fielders, sometimes more than once an over.

With pressure having descended heavily on Pakistan, they lost three wickets in the space of six overs. Rizwan was the first to go, leaving a Jayasuriya delivery that was angled in from around the wicket. He did not quite believe that this straighter ball had clipped his off stump, and waited for confirmation from the third umpire, that he had, in fact, been bowled for 37 off 69.

Fawad Alam was then run-out in a horrendous mix-up for which Babar was likely to be blamed. Having made just one off his first eight balls, Fawad was keen to get off strike against Mendis. He hit a ball straight of mid-off and took off, expecting Babar to come through. Babar initially took a couple of steps, but looking over his shoulder, decided to send Fawad back even though his partner was about three-quarters of the way to the danger end. Asitha Fernando’s throw found the keeper’s gloves, and Fawad was not even close to making it back.

Agha Salman then played a pained six-ball innings in which it seemed every other ball might get him out. He was out off what turned out to be the last ball before lunch, as he played a paddle sweep against Jayasuriya, and ended up only hitting the ball to Kusal Mendis at short leg, who had anticipated the stroke and reacted well to pouch it, diving quickly to his left.

Earlier, after Imam had edged Mendis behind on 49, Babar and Rizwan had prospered square of the wicket. Having overturned an lbw decision against him on 34, Babar got to his 23rd Test fifty off the 71st ball he faced. He defended resolutely but did not allow the bowlers to deliver long strings of dots to him.

Rizwan scored almost exclusively through the leg side, meanwhile, hitting three of his six boundaries via his most productive stroke – the sweep. Only one of his 37 runs came on the off side.

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