Junaid comes to Pakistan's aid
Junaid Khan struck twice late on the opening day of the third Test to revive Pakistan’s hopes of a series-levelling win against Sri Lanka in Pallekele.
The tourists’ bid to square the three-match series looked to have been immediately unhinged when Thisara Perera’s Test-best 4-63 helped bundle them out for 226.
Asad Shafiq’s 75 had provided the lone hand, but Sri Lanka’s hard work was undermined by a single Junaid over as the left-armer removed Dinesh Chandimal before grabbing the key scalp of Kumar Sangakkara for a duck.
Veteran seamer Mohammad Sami then arrowed a yorker into Mahela Jayawardene’s toes to have him lbw with what became the final ball of the day, leaving Sri Lanka 44 for three.
Sangakkara has punished Pakistan’s bowlers already in the series, twice falling just short of a double century, but he lasted just three balls today.
An inspired new-ball spell from Junaid was rewarded when he trapped Chandimal in front before another inswinger squeezed between Sangakkara’s bat and pad.
Opener Tharanga Paranavitana and Jayawardene looked like they would prevent any further damage until Sami struck to share the honours on an entertaining first day.
Perera, playing his sixth Test, had made the most of a lively pitch early on after Pakistan were sent in.
The 23-year-old bowled Mohammad Hafeez for 22, had Azhar Ali held at gully for nought and pinned Taufeeq Umar lbw for 29. Younus Khan was the other Pakistan wicket to fall, caught behind off Nuwan Kulasekara without scoring.
From 56 for four at lunch, Pakistan regrouped with Shafiq and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq adding 85 before the latter became Perera’s fourth victim when he edged behind on 40.
Pakistan suffered another setback when Adnan Akmal was forced to retire hurt on 10 after being struck on the glove by a Dilhara Fernando bouncer.
Shafiq brought up his half-century from 122 balls but, at the other end, Rangana Herath started to spin out the tourists’ tail.
Herath bowled Adnan for 24 when he returned to the crease, although the wicketkeeper was unable to field. It was subsequently confirmed that he has suffered a hairline fracture on his left ring finger.
Shafiq then himself fell to Herath when he gloved a ball that turned sharply to keeper Prasanna Jayawardene.
Herath ended the innings midway through the final session when he trapped Saeed Ajmal in front for figures of 3-40.