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Herath spins Sri Lanka closer to victory

Needing 271 runs to win second Test and square the series, Pakistan ends day four on 127 for 7

Herath spins Sri Lanka closer to victory - Cricket News
Rangana Herath is congratulated by teammates after dismissing Younis Khan.

Rangana Herath spun his magic around the Pakistan batting line-up once again, returning figures of 4 for 46, to take Sri Lanka closer to a win in the second Test in Colombo on Sunday (August 17).

Needing 271 runs for victory, Pakistan ended day four on 127 for 7, still needing 144 runs to win with just three wickets in hand.

Herath, who came on to bowl in the ninth over after Dhammika Prasad had dismissed openers Khurram Manzoor and Ahmed Shehzad, struck his first blow with his eighth delivery. Mahela Jayawardena held sharp catches off Herath to get rid of Azhar Ali and Misbah-ul-Haq. He then dismissed Younus Khan, trapping him lbw in the 39th over as Pakistan was reduced to 140 for 5 giving Sri Lanka the upper hand in the match. 

In need of a partnership, Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed resisted the bowling for an hour and added 55 runs for the sixth wicket. Shafiq was stumped off Herath for 32 and Abdur Rehman was leg before to Dilruwan Perera. However, Sarfraz remained unbeaten on a defiant 38. 

Earlier, Sri Lanka was bowled out for 282 in its second knock just before tea, with Wahab Riaz and Saeed Ajmal claiming three wickets each.

Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka's skipper, remained unbeaten on 43 after Jayawardena was dismissed for 54 in his last Test innings. The overnight pair of Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara took their partnership to 107 after Sri Lanka resumed the day on 177 for 2. 

However, Saeed Ajmal dismissed both batsmen within three runs of each other as the hosts slipped to 189 for 4 within the first 30 minutes of play. Ajmal had Sangakkara caught at silly point by Azhar Ali for 59 and then removed Jayawardena in his next over after he had added five runs to his overnight score of 49. Jayawardena was dismissed when he mistimed a lofted shot to midwicket, where Ahmed Shehzad took an excellent catch.

Though dejected, Jayawardena  acknowledged the crowd as he bowed out of the format after 149 Tests in which he totalled 11,814 runs at an average of 49.84 with 34 centuries and 50 half-centuries. 

He is one of only five batsmen to score more than 11,000 runs in both Test and one-day cricket - the others being Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and teammate Kumar Sangakkara. 

Having retired from Twenty20 Internationals after Sri Lanka's title-winning campaign in the ICC World T20 2014 in April, Jayawardena will now play only one-day cricket heading into next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Pakistan was once again without Junaid Khan, who was hit on the helmet by a rising ball from Dhammika Prasad and was kept under observation at a hospital for a few hours.

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