‘Disciplined’ seamers peg back Pakistan as Sri Lanka take control of Pallekele Test

Having been bowled out for 278, Sri Lanka hit back to reduce Pakistan to 209 for nine by stumps on the second day in which 11 wickets fell on an evenly paced pitch.

Dhammika Prasad, centre, successfully appeals for a lbw decision against Pakistan’s Shan Masood, right, during Day 2 of the third and final Test at Pallekele. Lakruwan Wanniarachchi / AFP
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The brittle top order of Pakistan undid the good work of leg-spinner Yasir Shah as Sri Lanka seized control of the series-deciding third Test in Pallekele.

Having been bowled out for 278, Sri Lanka hit back to reduce Pakistan to 209 for nine by stumps on the second day in which 11 wickets fell on an evenly paced pitch.

Nuwan Pradeep grabbed three for 26 in 14 steady overs and fellow seamer Dhammika Prasad chipped in another three wickets to cause a dramatic Pakistani collapse.

Sarfraz Ahmed returned unbeaten on 72 and Azhar Ali made 52, but none of the other batsmen could muster a sizeable partnership.

Last man Imran Khan, who got to bat for the first time in five Test matches, was with Sarfraz at the close on zero.

Yasir claimed another five-wicket haul as Sri Lanka added six runs to their overnight score of 272 for eight before they were dismissed within 20 minutes of the start.

Yasir finished with five for 78, joining his idol Shane Warne as the only overseas bowlers to claim five or more wickets in an innings three times during a Test series in Sri Lanka.

Yasir, 29, has already grabbed 59 wickets in a 10-Test career which began in October last year.

Azhar said Pakistan could still turn the Test in their favour with three days remaining.

“This Test is open and the closer we get to their total, it will improve our chances,” he said. “The third innings of the match is always very important, and if we can get them early, we can turn this match around.

“We are very positive. Our problem today was we were not able to build partnerships. But tomorrow is a new day and time to make a fresh start.”

Sri Lanka coach Marvan Atapattu credited the bowlers for the turnaround after the modest first innings total.

“It’s a great comeback from the bowlers,” he said. “The wicket is much better than the scores tell you. It’s been disciplined bowling and we’ve also been good on the field.

“We’re really happy with where we are at the moment.”

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