Azhar defies Sri Lanka; joins 5000 Test club

Azhar defies Sri Lanka; joins 5000 Test club

Azhar defies Sri Lanka; joins 5000 Test club

The 39-year-old left-arm spinner changed the course of the match with a haul of 6/43 in the second innings as Pakistan, in pursuit of 136, were bowled out for 114. A couple of wickets in the first session can take Pakistan to a winning position.

Before lunch on day four, Pakistan was trailing the Sri Lankan first innings total of 419 by 79 runs with two wickets intact.

The prolific wicket-taker took 2-25 as Sri Lanka, who dominated this game for a long period of time, now needing a rearguard action to save the Test.

Kusal Mendis (10) was also dismissed cheaply but that brought Chandimal to the crease, and he put on 100 for the fourth wicket with Karunaratne before going on to build a 134-run stand with wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella, who struck 83.

Speaking about the Sri Lanka's second innings, the coach said that he believed that one good inning from top order would taken Pakistan to the finish-line, but unfortunately it did not happen.

It was Pakistan's smallest margin of defeat in terms of runs in their Test history as previously it was 24 runs loss which Pakistan suffered against Zimbabwe in 2013.

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The visitors then kept chipping away at Pakistan as Dilruwan Perera and Herath got Babar Azam and Asad Shafiq respectively and suddenly Pakistan were at sixes and sevens.

101 - Number of wickets by Rangana Herath against Pakistan, which is the most by any bowler.

Sri Lanka resumed the day at 69 for four, having a lead of 66 runs.

With wickets falling at regular intervals, Sri Lanka's hopes of posting a competitive score were fading fast.

Chandimal (60 not out) recorded his 13th Test half-century as the tourists closed the opening day on 227 for four. Sri Lanka can be backed for the win at 7/4 and the draw is on offer at 3/1. He had been playing league cricket in Stoke-on-Trent, when Muttiah Muralitharan injured his shoulder a few days out from the first Test against Pakistan.

Yasir Shah finally had Sandakan caught at point while Hasan Ali (1-21) ended the innings by bowling Nuwan Pradeep, leaving Dickwell's fight stranded. New Pakistan Test captain Sarfraz Ahmed completed the run-out. The nature of Pakistan's capitulation at the end showed just how hard the transition is going to be in the post Misbah-ul-Haq era. "But obviously on the last day he was always going to be a factor and you have got to give him more respect but I would probably have liked to see our batsmen take him on". Credit goes to people like Dickwella and Karunaratne.

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