Galle: After posting a strong total, the Sri Lankan spinners spun a web around the Pakistan batters to extend their dominance on day two of the second Test in Galle.
With just four wickets in hand at the start of the day, Sri Lanka did well to add on some useful runs.
They played most of the first session building towards a solid total, adding 63 runs. Niroshan Dickwella, who was on 42* overnight, celebrated his 22nd Test fifty soon after Dunith Wellalage’s departure. Dickwella perished for 51 but Sri Lanka still had some fight left in them.
Ramesh Mendis turned on the heat and smashed four fours and a six to help Sri Lanka post a competitive 378.
Sri Lanka got off to a terrific start with Asitha Fernando removing Abdullah Shafique on the second ball of Pakistan’s innings. Shafique, whose brilliant knock in the first Test gave the visitors a comprehensive victory, got a thick inside edge while poking at a good length delivery that rattled his off and middle stumps.
Pakistan went to lunch at 15/1 but soon after the break lost Babar Azam, who also dragged one onto the stumps off Prabath Jayasuriya. At 35/2, Pakistan were in deep trouble. Imam-ul-Haq continued to fight but was the third batter to get bowled after leaving daylight between his bat and pad.
With Pakistan three down, it was Ramesh Mendis’ turn to shine with the ball. The bowler spun the ball brilliantly. He got Mohammad Rizwan with a sharp spinning delivery, which Rizwan completely misjudged and was rapped on the pads. He asked for a review but with no inside edge, the lbw was as plumb as they get.
After the tea break, Mendis’ attack continued. He broke Fawad Alam’s (24) resistance with another plumb lbw and then forced Mohammad Nawaz (12) to edge a flatter delivery to the keeper to reduce Pakistan to 145/6.
In only his third Test, 28-year-old Salman Ali Agha played an innings to remember. Coming in at No.6, when Pakistan were 88/4, Agha dropped anchor to frustrate the Sri Lanka bowlers. He had a nervy start and a tough time against Ramesh Mendis and Jayasuriya but as the game progressed, his defending skills got better. He broke free off Jayasuriya, slamming him for a four and a six – the first maximum of the match. He got his maiden Test fifty in 93 balls.