Pallekele: Jul 8, 2012
Sri Lanka's seamers Thisara Perera and Nuwan Kulasekara destroyed Pakistan's top-order on the opening day of the third and final Test in Pallekele on Sunday.
The tourists, sent in to bat for the second time in consecutive matches, failed to adjust to the moving ball on a responsive wicket and collapsed to 50-3 within the first hour.
Pakistan went to lunch on 81-4 with skipper Misbah-ul-Haq unbeaten on a dour 10 from 48 balls and Asad Shafiq on 12.
Perera, a 23-year-old playing only his sixth Test, made an immediate impact in his first appearance in the series by grabbing three wickets in his first nine overs.
Sri Lanka, who won the first Test in Galle before the second in Colombo was drawn, are seeking their first series win in three years since defeating New Zealand 2-0 at home in 2009.
Unlike the second Test where Mahela Jayawardene's decision to field on a flat track backfired as Pakistan ran up 551-6 declared, the hosts finally found conditions that suited the bowlers.
The bounce on the greenish pitch was less than expected -- the wicket-keeper stood up to the stumps as early as in the third over -- but there was considerable movement in the air and off the wicket.
Perera, taking advantage of overcast conditions, struck after Pakistan's openers had rattled up 35 by the eighth over, bowling Mohammad Hafeez with a delivery that swung in sharply.
Hafeez, who scored 196 in the second Test, made 22 with four hits to the fence.
Azhar Ali, another century-maker in Colombo, edged a wild drive off Perera to Thilan Samaraweera at gully before he had scored a run.
Sri Lanka earned two further wickets on either side of the morning drinks break when veteran Younis Khan was caught behind off Kulasekara and Taufeeq Umar was leg-before to Perera for 29.
Sri Lanka suffered a setback before the start when experienced opener Tillakaratne Dilshan opted out of the Test and returned home to Colombo due to health worries in his family.
Dilshan was replaced by Dinesh Chandimal, while Suraj Randiv and Nuwan Pradeep made way for seamers Dilhara Fernando and Perera.
Pakistan also chose a three-man pace attack with Umar Gul and Mohammad Sami, who missed the second Test, coming in for Aizaz Cheema and Abdur Rehman.(AFP)
Brief Scores: Pakistan 81 for 4 (Taufeeq Umar 29, Asad Shafiq 12*; Thisara Perera 3 for 31, Nuwan Kulasekara 1 for 36) vs Sri Lanka