Jayasuriya stars again as Sri Lanka thrash Pakistan to level series

By Faisal Kamal

GALLE – Spinner Prabath Jayasuriya grabbed another five-wicket haul as Sri Lanka thumped Pakistan by 246 runs in the second Test to end the series 1-1 on Thursday (28).

Chasing a mammoth 508 for victory, tourists Pakistan were bowled out for 261 in the second session on day five in Galle with skipper Babar Azam hitting a valiant 81.

The 30-year-old Jayasuriya, a left-arm spinner, claimed his fourth five-wicket haul in just his third Test since making his debut against Australia earlier this month. Fellow spinner Ramesh Mendis took four wickets.

Sri Lanka were racing to wrap up the match ahead of forecast rain after Pakistan resumed with nine wickets remaining and gamely fought on through the morning.

But Jayasuriya kept hitting back with regular strikes and got Agha Salman out for four at the stroke of lunch, then trapped talisman Azam lbw to end Pakistan’s resistance.

“When Babar was dismissed we knew that we could pull this off. Babar is their anchor,” Jayasuriya, who has bagged 29 wickets in three Tests, told reporters.

“That was crucial and once he was out we knew we could pull it off.”

Ramesh, who took five wickets with his off-spin in Pakistan’s first innings, wiped off the tail to trigger Sri Lankan celebrations in former captain Angelo Mathews’ 100th Test.

Pakistan won the opener with a Galle record chase of 342 and fought hard to outdo themselves, with the in-form Azam scoring his 23rd Test fifty and putting on brave stands with overnight partner Imam-ul-Haq (49) and Mohammad Rizwan (37).

Ramesh struck on his first ball of the day to get Imam caught behind, with the left-handed batsman adding just three to his overnight 46.

Jayasuriya, who took one wicket on day four, cut short Rizwan’s stay with his left-arm spin. Fawad Alam was run out for one.

Azam survived Jayasuriya’s lbw call, which was given out by the umpire but successfully reviewed by the batsman, before the bowler claimed him for the third time this series.

Azam, who began the day on 26 and needed some physio help for lower back discomfort, has been in top form with the bat and scored 119 and 55 in Pakistan’s opening win.

Sri Lanka ended their innings on Wednesday (27) afternoon with a monumental lead but weather was of concern to the hosts, with play ending early on day three and four due to bad light and rain predicted for Thursday afternoon.

Dhananjaya de Silva, who stood in as Sri Lanka captain with back pain keeping Dimuth Karunaratne off the field, set up victory with his 109 in Sri Lanka’s 360-8 declared.

“We were definitely in the game but Dhananjaya’s innings changed the game,” said Azam.

Pakistan fell behind Sri Lanka by 147 runs after being bowled out for 231 in response to the hosts’ first-innings 378.

Back-to-back cricket tours have brought some joy to Sri Lanka, which is enduring a painful economic crisis and shortages of food and fuel.

Political unrest saw the president flee the country in between the Australia series, which also ended 1-1 after the hosts again bounced back from their opening loss.

-Agence France-Presse




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