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Sri Lanka fight back to reduce Pakistan to 48/3

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The 8th wicket pair Dhananjaya de Silva (83) (right) and Ramesh Mendis (43) who made 76 runs partnership making a run (pix courtesy SLC)

Dhananjaya de Silva once again made a fighting knock of 82 as Sri Lanka fought back strongly on the third day of the first Test against Pakistan at Galle International Cricket Stadium yesterday.

It was a nice come back for Sri Lanka team while they were all out for 279 in their second innings with 130 runs lead. Pakistan chasing their target of 131 were in deep trouble at 48 for 3 at close of play yesterday and still 83 runs need to get victory with seven wickets in hand with a full final day 90 overs.

Sri Lankan openers Dimuth Karunaratne (20) and Nishan Madushka (52) added 42 runs stand in the second innings but Karunaratne’ s early departure made big pressure on Sri Lanka team. His prized wicket was taken by Abrar Ahmed the leg spinner. Madushanka who was out cheaply at the first innings this time made his fifty but did not last long and was back to the pavilion. Two most senior batters Angelo Mathews (7) and Dinesh Chandimal (28) couldn’t do their part very well as Sri Lanka were in trouble to post 159 for 5 just past the Pakistan lead of 139 runs. In fact Mathews who scored fighting half century was back to the pavilion while skipper Babar Azam took a outstanding catch at first slip off the bowling of Norman Ali.

However first innings hero Dhananjaya de Silva and off spin all rounder Ramesh Mendis added remarkable 76 runs 8th wicket stand to make some hope for Sri Lanka. Ramesh Mendis was unfortunately out 8 runs away his half century in 79 balls with 3 fours and a six while Dhananjaya de Silva hit 82 in 118 balls with 10 fours and 2 sixes was out at number 8 batter and Pakistan bowlers fought back strongly to dismiss Sri Lanka for 279 in 83.1 overs with a victory target of 131.

Two leg spinners Abrar Ahmed and Norman Ali did most of the damage claiming three wickets each while Shaheen Afridi and Agha Salman took two wickets each. Pakistan chasing a target of 131 runs were in trouble 48 for 3 wickets in 15 overs at close of play while leg spinner Prabath Jayasuriya took two important wickets. Today the final day Sri Lanka bowlers are expected to get seven wickets while Pakistan are aim to win the game by adding more 83 runs.

Meanwhile Dhananjaya de Silva is well improved as a Test batsman and he made good knock of 122 followed by 83 yesterday, said Sri Lanka cricket Assistant coach and batting specialist coach Naveed Nawaz.

We were short of 100 runs each in both innings to put pressure on Pakistan. We saw one Pakistan batsman made a big scorer (Saud Shakeel) and others were around him. But Dhananjaya did not get the support of other batsmen. I think if we take early wickets today once again we can battle to win the game, said Naveed Nawaz.

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