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Karunaratne stands tall as Yasir rocks Sri Lanka

Host ends first day of final Test against Pakistan on a rickety 272

Karunaratne stands tall as Yasir rocks Sri Lanka
 - Cricket News
Yasir Shah celebrates the wicket of Upul Tharanga.
Dimuth Karunaratne made a fighting century but it was Yasir Shah’s wily leg-spin that gave Pakistan the advantage on the opening day of the third Test in Pallekele on Friday (July 3).
 
Karunaratne made a patient 230-ball 130 but that couldn't prevent Sri Lanka from being reduced to 272 for 8 at stumps, with Yasir starring for Pakistan once again with 4 for 77. Azhar Ali, with his part-time leg-spin, and Rahat Ali split the remaining four wickets. 
 
Sri Lanka, asked to bat, got a few mini-partnerships going but struggled to convert them into anything substantial.
 
Its innings got off on a poor note when Rahat Ali forced Kaushal Silva to nick a sharply rising delivery through to Sarfraz Ahmed in the fifth over.
 
Sri Lanka was on the back foot early, but Karunaratne and Upul Tharanga came through a testing period unscathed and gradually took the home side past the 100-run mark.
 
But Shah ensured that Sri Lanka didn't run away with the advantage with a flurry of wickets. He got Tharanga to edge to Younis Khan at slip with a googly to end the 91-run stand for the second wicket before striking two more blows before tea to swing the momentum Pakistan's way. Lahiru Thirimanne first chased a flighted ball and mistimed a shot to Babar Azam, the substitute, at mid-off, and the next over, Angelo Mathews fell in similar fashion, mistiming a lofted shot to the same fielder in the same position.
 
Sri Lanka recovered marginally from the quick strikes with a couple of decent partnerships after tea, but each time they got going, Pakistan struck to seize back the advantage. Amid all this, Karunaratne was a picture of concentration, fighting his way to his second Test century before succumbing to the pressure of wickets tumbling at the other end.
 
Jehan Mubarak, who replaced Kithuruwan Vithanage in the XI, looked unperturbed and added 67 for the fifth wicket with Karunaratne before a rush of blood led to his downfall. He charged down the track against Shah only to realise that the leg-spinner had bowled a straighter one – he was stumped for 25. Another stand of 44 between Dinesh Chandimal and Karunaratne followed before Azhar ended Sri Lanka's recovery. 
 
Azhar first had Karunaratne stumped with a sharply turning googly and then had Dhammika Prasad pulling a short ball straight to deep square leg to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 248 for 7. The onus was on Chandimal to score quick runs with only the tail for company but Rahat ended his brief stay with the second new ball, his in-swinger trapping Chandimal in front and though the appeal was rejected initially, Pakistan reviewed successfully to get another wicket just before stumps.
 
Both the sides had made four changes for the game. Sri Lanka dropped Rangana Herath and Vithanage, while Dushmantha Chameera sat out with an injury. The ones included were Mubarak, Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep. Kumar Sangakkara had earlier opted out of the match to fulfill his county cricket commitments.
 
Pakistan had two forced changes, Wahab Riaz ruled out due to injury and Mohammad Hafeez unavailable since he had to undergo an official test on his bowling action in Chennai on July 6. In addition, Pakistan also dropped Zulfiqar Babar and Junaid Khan to include Rahat, Ehsan Adil and Imran Khan, alongside opener Shan Masood.
 
To see the full scorecard of the match, please click here.

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