COLOMBO: Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath captured four more Pakistan wickets to take his match tally to a career best 13 as Sri Lanka edged closer to victory in Mahela Jayawardene’s farewell Test yesterday.
Pakistan, chasing 271 to level the series, were struggling on 127 for seven wickets by the close of the fourth day of the second Test.
Sarfraz Ahmed (38) and Wahab Riaz (2) will resume at the crease on the fifth day with Pakistan trailing by 144 runs.
Sri Lanka lead the two-test series 1-0.
Pakistan began their run chase after tea but they struggled from the outset and fast bowler Dhammika Prasad snapped up the wickets of openers Khurram Manzoor (10) and Ahmed Shehzad (8).
Herath, who took nine wickets in the first innings, continued to torment the Pakistan batsmen and had Azhar Ali (10) and out-of-form captain Misbah-ul-Haq (3) both caught at slip by Jayawardene before Younus Khan (8) was trapped lbw.
Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed tried to rescue the innings with a 55-run stand but Herath managed to separate them when Shafiq was stumped by wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella for 32.
Pakistan also lost the wicket of Abdur Rehman (5) when he was given out lbw to Dilruwan Perera after failing to offer a stroke to a ball that spun in from off stump.
“We were in a little bit of trouble with the bat today because we scored only 100 runs for the loss of (the last) eight wickets but that shows how difficult the wicket was,” Kumar Sangakkara told reporters.
“We showed a lot of fight to get to a lead of 270. “Then the magic of Herath was back in the game, he’s been incredible for us in the last few years. All credit to him he’s worked hard and done all the hard work for us in the middle and he is reaping the rewards of that.”
Earlier, Jayawardene signed off from Test cricket with the bat with his 50th half-century as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 282 in their second innings.
Sri Lanka’s last five wickets added 35 runs in the afternoon session with captain Angelo Mathews remaining unbeaten on 43 when the innings ended.
Jayawardene (54) completed his 50 with a swept four to fine leg off Ajmal, bringing the crowd on their feet. Jayawardene, however, did not survive long as a run later he tried to hit Ajmal over midwicket but only managed to hit it in the air. Shehzad ran back from midwicket to hold onto a good catch.
The former Sri Lanka captain received a standing ovation from the crowd all the way back to the pavilion. He ended his batting career in tests with a tally of 11,814 runs from 149 Tests at an average of 49.84, making him the seventh highest run-scorer in the longest format. REUTERS