Pakistan struggle in Sri Lanka first Test

Sri Lanka’s bowlers ripped through Pakistan’s top order in dramatic fashion to leave the tourists struggling on Friday’s third day of the first Test in Galle.

After opener Kaushal Silva hit 125 to lift Sri Lanka to 300 in the first innings, Pakistan collapsed to 3-35 in reply before a partial recovery took them to 5-118 by stumps.

Asad Shafiq was unbeaten on 14 and Sarfraz Ahmed was on 15 when rain forced play to end early with the tourists trailing by 182 runs with five wickets in hand.

Seamer Dhammika Prasad removed both openers by the third over, paving the way for the bowlers to take control on what remained an easy-paced pitch at the Galle International stadium.

Prasad had Mohammad Hafeez caught at third slip off his sixth delivery and then trapped Ahmed Shehzad lbw in his next over to reduce Pakistan to 2-11.

It became 3-35 when left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, brought on in the sixth over, had Azhar Ali lbw.

Veterans Younis Khan (47) and skipper Misbah-ul Haq (20) attempted to rebuild with a 51-run stand for the fourth wicket before both were dismissed in the space of 10 runs in the last session.

Younis was bowled as he stepped out to drive offspinner Dilruwan Perera, and Misbah fell to a brilliant one-handed diving catch at first slip by 37-year-old Kumar Sangakkara off Nuwan Pradeep.

Sri Lanka’s innings was built around Silva’s painstaking effort that was marked by solid defence even as wickets tumbled regularly at the other end.

The diminutive right-hander lit up the rain-hit Test with his stubborn 125, his second Test century, after making 139 against Bangladesh in January last year in Dhaka.

Bad weather had washed out the entire first day’s play on Wednesday and just 64 overs were bowled on the second day due to a wet outfield.

Sri Lanka added 11 runs to their overnight score of 3-178 when they lost skipper Angelo Mathews, who was bowled by left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz for 19.

Dinesh Chandimal contributed 23 in a fifth-wicket stand of 37 with Silva before being bowled by Babar, who was surprisingly handed the second new ball.

Kithuruwan Vithanage was the third batsman to be dismissed in the morning session when, on 18, he gave Hafeez an easy return catch.

Wahab and Babar finished with three wickets each, while Hafeez and Shah took two apiece.

The three-Test series will be followed by five one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches.

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