Fast bowler Dhammika Prasad’s 4 for 92 helped Sri Lanka pull ahead in the second Test as they dismissed Pakistan for 329 to leave them needing 153 to draw level in the three-match series.
His bowling also blunted the impact of Azhar Ali’s ninth Test century, which had anchored Pakistan, helping them wipe out a significant deficit and then putting them in the lead. Sri Lanka’s chase, however, will only get underway on the final day after heavy rain wiped out the entire third session.
Prasad reaped rewards for his discipline and accuracy and played an important role in breaking the overnight partnership between Younis Khan and Azhar at the start of the day, inducing edges from both batsmen. His accuracy helped unsettle Younis Khan who eventually fell caught behind to Angelo Mathews for 40 with a half-hearted edge.
That wicket brought an end to a 73-run partnership between Younis and Azhar, but with the score at 202 for 3, Pakistan still had a chance to build a larger total. Instead, the rest of the line-up failed to bat long enough with Azhar to leave an impact. The side lost their last six wickets for 55 runs.
Sri Lanka, led by Karunaratne and Kithuruwan Vithanage at the top, started their chase with intent, racing to 49 in six overs before Pakistan struck back through Zulfiqar Babar.
And when Sri Lanka’s tormentor Yasir Shah dismissed Kumar Sangakkara the very next ball from the other end, there were fears of a mini-collapse in the host’s dressing room. Captain Angelo Mathews, though, steadied the ship with a patient 43.
Yasir picked up Karunaratne (50) but it was too little too late as Sri Lanka were well within touching distance of the target.
Pakistan won the first Test in Galle by 10 wickets. The third Test starts in Pallekele on Friday.