Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Pakistan were heading towards a massive defeat at one point on the fourth day in Dubai, but batsman Asad Shafiq and captain Sarfraz Ahmed came to the rescue with unbeaten knocks of 86 and 57 respectively.
Thanks to Shafiq and Sarfraz, Pakistan’s glimmer of hope of beating Sri Lanka has widened drastically as they are 119 runs away from victory.
Starting off the day on 34/5, Sri Lanka added 25 runs to their overnight score before wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella was caught behind off the bowling of Wahab Riaz for 21.
Dilruwan Perera was dismissed the in very next over as he was trapped lbw off the bowling of Yasir Shah for a golden duck.
A few overs later, Haris Sohail stole the spotlight as he dismissed Rangana Herath for 17. Three balls later, Kusal Mendis was walking back to the pavilion as he was caught behind for 29. Just two balls after that, Sohail took his third wicket of the over as Nuwan Pradeep was given out lbw for a duck.
Pradeep opted for a review, but it was no use as replays showed that the ball was pitching in line and going on to clip the stumps.
Thanks to Sohail’s quick three-wicket haul, Sri Lanka were skittled out for 96, which is their ninth-lowest total in Test history. However, despite Sri Lanka’s unbelievable collapse, they still set Pakistan a target of 317 to win.
Riaz was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Sohail snapped up three, Yasir got two and Mohammad Abbas chipped in with one.
Chasing 317 to win, Pakistan got off to a horrible start as opener Sami Aslam was caught by Mendis off the bowling of debutant Lahiru Gamage for one run.
Azhar Ali mustered 17 runs before he was sent packing by Pradeep.
Sohail and Shan Masood fared no better as they scored 10 and 21 respectively before they were both removed by Dilruwan.
Three balls after dismissing Masood, Dilruwan took out Babar Azam for a duck, which left Pakistan reeling at 52/5.
With Sri Lanka edging ever closer to clinching a 2-0 series win, Shafiq and Sarfraz kept them at bay for the remainder of the day as they amassed an unbeaten 146-run partnership, during which both batsmen surpassed their half-centuries.
Shafiq finished on 86 off 141 balls, which included eight boundaries, while Sarfraz remained undefeated on 57 off 113 deliveries, which included four boundaries.
Dilruwan was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Gamage and Pradeep claimed one wicket each.
Pakistan ended day four on 198/5 and will continue batting on Tuesday at 15:30 local time or 11:30 GMT.