Dinesh Chandimal's aggressive fifty puts Sri Lanka on course for win

Sri Lanka are eyeing their first Test series win in three years since beating New Zealand 2-0 at home in 2009 AFP

Pallekele: Jul 12, 2012

Sri Lanka needed 138 runs from a minimum of 33.4 overs with eight wickets in hand to win the third and final Test against Pakistan in Pallekele on Thursday.

The hosts made a brave bid to chase a target of 270 as they reached 132 for 2 in 37.2 overs by tea on the fifth day at the Pallekele International Stadium.

Dinesh Chandimal, a last-minute inclusion for the match after Tillakaratne Dilshan opted out due to health worries in his family, anchored the innings with a superb 65.

The 22-year-old’s third half-century in four Tests contained fluent strokes on both sides of the wickets, including eight boundaries.

But Chandimal was dismissed in the last over before tea, snapped up low at mid-off by Asad Shafiq off Saeed Ajmal, ending an 88-run stand for the second wicket with Kumar Sangakkara (35 not out).

Sri Lanka are eyeing their first Test series win in three years since beating New Zealand 2-0 at home in 2009.

Mahela Jayawardene’s home team defeated Pakistan by 209 runs in the first Test in Galle before the rain-hit second match in Colombo was drawn.

Earlier, Shafiq remained unbeaten on 100 as Pakistan declared their second innings at 380-8 half-an-hour before lunch to attempt a series-levelling win.

But the tourists were thwarted by a pitch that eased out under the hot sun and a determined effort by the home team’s batsmen in front of some 1,000 spectators.

Openers Tharanga Paranavitana and Chandimal gave Sri Lanka a bright start with a 44-run partnership by the 10th over.

Left-handed Paranavitana made 22 when he was caught at second slip by Younis Khan off Junaid Khan, one ball after being dropped by Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq at first slip.

The tourists, who resumed at the overnight score of 299-8, added 81 runs in 24.4 overs in the morning session.

Shafiq, the top-scorer in the first innings with 75, hit nine boundaries in his second Test century when Misbah declared as soon as the landmark was reached.

Adnan Akmal, batting with a hairline fracture in his left hand, scored a gutsy 35 not out as he put on 81 for the ninth wicket with Shafiq.

Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath was Sri Lanka’s most successful bowler with 4-99 in the second innings. Fast bowler Dilhara Fernando claimed 3-74. (AFP)

Brief Scores: Pakistan 226 & 380 for 8 dec (Azhar Ali 136, Asad Shafiq 100*, Mohammad Hafeez 52; Rangana Herath 4 for 99) lead Sri Lanka 337 (Tharanga Paranavitana 75, Thisara Perera 75, Thilan Samaraweera 73; Junaid Khan 5 for 70) & 132 for 2 (Dinesh Chandimal 65, Kumar Sangakkara 35*) by 138 runs.

Full Scorecard

Photo Gallery