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Sangakkara, Mahela on course for grand finale

Veteran duo share unbroken 98-run stand after Rangana Herath’s 9 for 127 keeps Pakistan’s first-innings lead to 12

Sangakkara, Mahela on course for grand finale - Cricket News
Kumar Sangakkara scores his 51st half-century in the second Test against Pakistan.
Mahela Jayawardena will resume his final Test innings on an unbeaten 49, after heading into stumps on the third day having played a large part in putting Sri Lanka on safe footing while batting alongside Kumar Sangakkara, his old comrade-in-arms.
 
Sri Lanka ended Saturday’s (August 16) play at 177 for 2, with the veteran duo sharing an unbroken 98-run stand for the third wicket at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo. Sangakkara was batting on 54.
 
Earlier, Rangana Herath had taken 9 for 127 to restrict Pakistan’s first-innings lead to just 12, giving Sri Lanka an overall lead of 165 at the close of play. With a wearing pitch expected to assist spinners on the last two days and eight wickets in hand, Sri Lanka will fancy its chances of sending Jayawardena into Test retirement on a victorious note. The home side is already sitting on a 1-0 lead in the two-match series, having won the first Test in Galle by seven wickets.
 
Jayawardena, who was warmly applauded to the crease by the Pakistan fielders and some 4,000 home fans, played fluently to strike seven boundaries.

Upul Tharanga took the lead at the start of Sri Lanka's innings, hitting 45 in an opening stand of 54 with Kaushal Silva. Both openers fell to Abdur Rehman's left-arm spin in the post-lunch session to leave the score 79 for 2, but Pakistan could make no further inroads.
 
Pakistan had been dealt a blow before bowling for the second time, with Junaid Khan unable to take the field. Junaid was taken to a hospital and kept under observation after complaining of giddiness. The left-arm seamer, who took five wickets in the first innings, had been hit on the helmet by a rising ball from Dhammika Prasad in the morning.
 
Earlier, Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan wicketkeeper, scored a maiden Test century, while Herath became the first left-arm bowler in history to take nine wickets in an innings.
 
Sarfraz hit a gutsy 103 as Pakistan, resuming on an overnight 244 for 6, made 332 before it was bowled out at the stroke of lunch. Sarfraz, who came in to bat after tea on Friday, with Pakistan struggling at 140 for 5, led a remarkable fightback by the lower order that enabled the visiting side to gain a slender lead.
 
Herath, however, grabbed attention in the eventful morning session, claiming the four remaining wickets to finish with 9 for 127, only the second Sri Lankan after Muttiah Muralitharan to take nine wickets in an innings. Herath, 36, who surpassed his previous best of 7 for 89 against Bangladesh in Colombo last year, is the No. 1 Test spinner. He has claimed 255 wickets so far in 57 Tests.

Sarfraz, starting the day on 66, reached his hundred by hooking Chanaka Welegedara, the left-arm seamer, for a six after pulling the previous delivery for a boundary. He was the ninth man dismissed, when he edged a Herath delivery to hand Niroshan Dickwella, the wicketkeeper, his fifth catch in the innings, with Pakistan just six away from taking the lead.
 
Junaid, the last man, then hit an unbeaten 13 to help Pakistan go past Sri Lanka’s total before Herath, who earlier in the morning had dismissed Rehman (16) and Wahab Riaz (17), ended the innings by bowling Saeed Ajmal.

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