By Champika Fernando in Galle
Kumar Sangakkara was stranded a run short of claiming his ninth double century, his third against Pakistan after Saeed Ajmal curtailed Sri Lanka’s run feast on a deteriorating Galle pitch on Saturday.
But at the end of the second’s day’s play Sri Lanka were in a strong position to claim a dominating win here in Galle, having picked up five wickets early in Pakistan’s chase.
Pacer Nuwan Kulasekara got Taufeeq Umar and Azhar Ali in successive deliveries in his third over before spinner Suraj Randive claimed two more in successive balls in his second over before left armer Rangana Herath claimed his first to put Pakistan reeling on 48 for 5 at stumps, trail by 425 runs.
Randiv trapped skipper Hafeez leg-before for 20 and then had night-watchman Saeed Ajmal caught at short leg by Tharanga Paranavithana.
Younis Khan was unbeaten on 15 and will be expected to bat on with debutant Mohammad Ayub for most part of third day’s play to avoid the follow-on which looks almost impossible with just one recognize batsman to follow and a deteriorating pitch to bat on.
Sangakkara was unbeaten on 199 after a near ten-hour struggle in the middle when Pakistan’s stand-in-skipper Mohammad Hafeez bowled Nuwan Pradeep to wrap up the Sri Lankan innings for 472, much to the disappointment of the left-hander.
Sri Lanka were threatening to reach a score in excess of 500 runs after finishing day one on a strong 300 for 2, but Pakistan pace and spin attacked proved why they were considered one of the best bowling units in the world, picking the remaining eight wickets for 172 runs in 63.2 overs.
The 34-year-old former skipper lacked aggression and composure and was forced to labour for runs yesterday adding just 88 runs for his overnight score. Sangakkara finished day one on 111 not out sparing 194 deliveries, faced further 193 deliveries for his 88 run on Saturday.
Sangakkara who had 18 boundaries and two sixes, slogged Saeed Ajmal over the deep mid-wicket boundary for six to take him to 199 and having seen the scoreboard which erroneously showed 200 before his name, celebrated soaking all the applause before realizing he was one short. He pushed Ajmal’s last ball to cover but couldn’t keep Pradeep away from the strike.
Ajmal claimed three wickets in the day’s first session, including the wickets of Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews in successive balls as Pakistan struck back. Ajmal who picked the Sri Lankan openers on day one was the most successful bowler for Pakistan claiming his sixth five-wicket haul.
The Sri Lanka skipper who was unbeaten on 55 overnight added just seven runs to his overnight score before being bowled out for 62 off Ajmal. Sangakkara was also involved in a healthy 80-run partnership for the seventh wicket with Prasanna Jayawardene who was out caught behind off Hafeez.
Suraj Randiv and Nuwan Kulasekara could not do much as they went cheaply and Rangana Herath and Nuwan Pradeep both fell for ducks to leave Sangakkara one short of a double hundred.