Angelo Mathews’ fifth Test century stretched Sri Lanka’s lead to 376 on the fourth morning, even as Imran Khan picked up his maiden five-for with the second new ball. Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal strengthened Sri Lanka’s position further before Imran broke through, adding 50 runs more to extend their sixth-wicket partnership to 117.
With plenty of time left in the game and an on-time start, Sri Lanka were in no hurry, batting safely to ensure they did not lose early wickets to the probing pair of Imran and Yasir Shah.
Imran hit a tight line around off stump immediately, and maintained it throughout the session. Yasir continued to draw the batsmen forward with his flight and beat them with turn and bounce, an edge off Mathews falling short of slip.
Even after the old ball was changed in the 74th over, and the new one was taken as soon as it was available, the occasional edges failed to carry to the cordon, highlighting the slowness of the pitch.
Chandimal and Mathews gradually picked up pace. Chandimal was strong through point and gully, and Mathews stuck to his policy of defending and then suddenly powering a boundary out of nowhere.
The lead was nearing 350 when Imran finally got reward for his accuracy in the 16th over of the morning, Chandimal going leg-before for 67. Dhammika Prasad bagged a king pair, feathering one to the keeper.
Tharindu Kaushal went the same way after which Mathews got down to farming the strike. He did that for a few overs until Yasir denied him the single, and Imran immediately took out Suranga Lakmal, caught behind again. He would have ended the innings in the same over, had Misbah-ul-Haq not put down Nuwan Pradeep at first slip.