Sri Lanka scenting win despite Azhar
Azhar Ali’s century was overshadowed by a late clatter of wickets that gave Sri Lanka the initiative heading into the final day of the third Test against Pakistan in Pallekele.
The tourists slipped from 276 for four to 299 for eight, 188 runs ahead, giving Sri Lanka hope of emerging victorious if they can polish off the tail early tomorrow.
Rangana Herath and Dilhara Fernando did the damage, claiming 4-64 and 3-65 respectively.
Pakistan’s problems began when Azhar’s outstanding innings came to an end; having hit a second ton in as many Tests, he edged to wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene off Fernando on 136.
That sparked a dramatic collapse as Fernando trapped Mohammad Sami in front before Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal fell in the same manner to Herath.
Asad Shafiq made it to the close unbeaten on 55, with Adnan Akmal yet to score at the other end.
The tourists began the day trailing by 84 runs and having lost opener Taufeeq Umar in a short spell before stumps on day three.
Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar negotiated the swinging ball before confidently starting to eat away at the deficit.
Hafeez brought up his half-century, but, moments later, chased a wide Fernando delivery and edged to Tharanga Paranavitana at slip to go for 52.
The tourists lost Younus Khan for 19 when a thin edge off Herath popped up off the batsman's pad to silly point.
They quickly found themselves four down as skipper Misbah-ul-Haq was dismissed for five, becoming Herath’s second victim of the session when edging to Mahela Jayawardene at slip.
Azhar remained resolute, only for the tourists’ efforts to then be undermined by Fernando and Herath.
Sri Lanka lead the three-match series 1-0.