Misfortune comes in a brace. Pakistan was overwhelmed with shock and disappointment going into the third and final test against Sri Lanka. Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamer had each got jail sentences for cricketing conspiracy. They found life tough on the pitch as well, bowing to the mastery of Sangakkara. The former wicketkeepers-skipper (he has abdicated both profiles) is busy notching centuries at the ending stage of his career.
Sangakkara, who saved the first test with a double century, this time, piled pressure at Abu Dhabi with a smart and patient double century. Pakistan can however take heart in the fact that they kept the run rate quite ordinary. That is bound to translate into wastage of time, thus making the chance of draw more prominent. It is to be noted that Pakistan need only a draw to win the test series.
Pakistan started well with the leather grabbing opener Paranavitana in the second slip in the first over itself. Umar Gul was particularly sharp in his opening spell, but had scant support with only one other pacer in the team: Junaid Khan. The absence of Aizaz Cheema hurt Pakistan throughout the day, as they depended more on Ajmal’s spin.
Pakistan got their chances and a catch was adjudged not to be so by the umpire. Skipper Dilshan at the other end, slowly picked up pace in the post lunch session and closed in on a century. However, he was cut short by 8 runs, falling to Ajmal’s guile. His dismissal put an automatic stop to Sri Lanka’s progression even though experienced duo of Sangakkara and Mahela Jayewardene were at the crease. They grafted at snails pace towards the close of play, barring occasional streaks of aggression shown by Sangakkara. The southpaws had struck his 27th century, placing Sri Lanka at ease at 245 for 2 at stumps.