Dubai: Sri Lanka are just five wickets away from winning the second Test match at the dinner break of the fourth day of the Dubai International Stadium.
Chasing 317 for an improbable win to level the two-Test series, Pakistan were left in tatters on 62 for five with off-spinner Dilruwan Perera picking up three wickets.
Perera dismissed Haris Sohail (10), Shan Masood (21) and Babar Azam (0) and Sri Lanka look all set for a clean 2-0 sweep over Pakistan having won the first Test in Abu Dhabi by 21 runs.
For the second time in the innings, Pakistan batsmen failed to rise to the challenge. The last of the respectable pair are at the crease — an out of form Asad Shafiq and skipper Sarfraz Ahmad.
Sri Lanka, from their overnight score of 34 for five, added 25 more runs before Wahab Riaz struck again to have Niroshan Dickwella out for 21 with a ball that angled across to take the edge. Dickwella committed the mistake of driving away from the body and wicketkeeper Sarfraz dived to his left to pull off a brilliant catch.
One run later, Yasir Shah had Dilruwan Perera out leg before with a flipper before he could open his score.
The last three wickets went to left-arm spinner Haris Sohail, in the 26th over. He first had Rangana Herath sweep to Babar Azam for 17. Then he dismissed Kusal Mendis, who hit a quick 29 runs but went for a sweep and top edged to wicketkeeper Sarfraz. He also trapped Nuwan Pradeep leg before for a duck to bowl out Sri Lanka for a paltry 96 runs.
It was Sri Lanka’s ninth lowest score in Test cricket.
Riaz returned with figures of four for 41, while Sohail took three wickets for just one run from his one over while Shah bagged two wickets for 47.
For the third successive Test match, Shah had a match haul of eight wickets as he had bagged six wickets in Sri Lanka’s first innings.
Needing 317 runs for a win, Pakistan got off to an anxious start. Opener Shan Masood survived a review for leg before as the fifth ball of the first over from Suranga Lakmal was going slightly above the stumps.
In the fourth over opener Sami Aslam edged Lahiru Gamage to slip but it turned out to be a no-ball. However, luck did not continue to favour Aslam as in the same over he played a dreadful shot. He dabbed the ball into the hands of Kusal Mendis at second slip for one.
Azhar Ali, who top scored in the first innings with 59 runs, joined Masood and kept the scoreboard moving. The pair played too cautiously and put on 31 runs for the second wicket when Pradeep made Ali play into the hands of Kaushal Silva positioned between short leg and square leg for the thick edge lob from the pad. Ali’s overcautious innings of 17 runs came off 54 balls.
Pakistan needed 281 more runs at this stage. Haris Sohail joined Masood and lifted Perera over extra cover for his first boundary. At the score on 49, Perera had Sohail caught behind with a delivery that turned just enough to take his bat’s outside edge for 10.
Out of form Asad Shafiq walked in with the pressure at its peak. Masood, who played 101 balls to score 21 runs, edged another Perera’s delivery to the wicketkeeper.
A pumped up Perera struck again having next man Babar Azam out for a duck. Azam, playing from crease without reading the ball, inside edged for Kausal Silva at leg gully to take the catch. Half of the Pakistan side were thus back in the pavilion for just 52 runs.