Dimuth Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews play good hands as host pulls off 153-run chase in just 26.3 overs
With the threat of rain looming on the final day of their second Test against Pakistan on Monday (June 29), Sri Lanka came out intent on polishing off the 153-run chase as soon as it could and level the three-Test series 1-1 at the P Sara Oval in Colombo.
It did just that, Dimuth Karunaratne (50 in 57 balls) and Angelo Mathews (43 not out in 57 balls) playing lead roles as the hosts completed the chase in 26.3 overs to record a seven-wicket win.
Start of play was delayed by half an hour because of a wet outfield following overnight rain, and Sri Lanka decided to open with Karunaratne and Kithuruwan Vithanage, and not Kaushal Silva, in a bid to score quickly.
Karunaratne started things off, driving a full-length Junaid Khan delivery uppishly past a diving Azhar Ali at mid-on. The ball was in the air for a fair length of time, and counted as a missed opportunity. In the fifth over then, Karunaratne dragged his foot outside the crease while attempting to drive Zulfiqar Babar, but Sarfraz Khan fluffed the chance.
The two went on to put together 49 runs in just seven overs before Babar had Vithanage slog sweeping to Mohammad Hafeez at deep midwicket. And 49 for 1 became 49 for 2 when Yasir Shah had Kumar Sangakkara gloving one to Azhar at forward short-leg to fall for a duck.
It was in Mathews that Karunaratne found a partner he could rely on, and the two scored quickly in a 72-run stand to take Sri Lanka closer and closer to victory.
Karunaratne fell when Shah found a way past his attempted swing – the review didn’t go in Karunaratne’s favour – to catch him lbw, but Sri Lanka were just 32 away at that stage. Mathews, and Lahiru Thirimanne, who scored an unbeaten 20 in 21 balls, saw them home after that.
Earlier on the fourth day, Pakistan, after a valiant century from Azhar Ali (117), folded for 329 in 118.2 overs. The visitors lost its last six wickets for 55 runs with Dhammika Prasad picking up 4 for 92.
To see the full scorecard, please click here.