(CTN News) – As lunch time approaches on day three, Pakistan’s lead has risen to 107, with Abdullah Shafique unbeaten on 137 and Saud Shakeel on 32.
The only blemish for the visitors was the loss of Babar Azam, who was trapped leg before by Prabath Jayasuriya for 39 in the morning session – the sixth time the Pakistan skipper has been dismissed by him.
However, despite having lost a day because of the rain yesterday, the Pakistan Way on day three seemed to be a far more measured approach than the helter-skelter approach that had been adopted on day one.
Before the first run was scored, a boundary was pulled behind square by the overnight pair of Shafique and Babar after being bowled 13 times.
It was then just two runs in the next 18 deliveries before Shafique struck consecutive boundaries off Asitha Fernando – a single two deliveries later he was on his way to his fourth Test century, the third for a Pakistan opener at the SSC at the time.
There is no doubt that Pakistan’s conservatism this morning is largely due to the wicket starting to favor spinners a little more than it used to.
Prior to Babar being dismissed, Jayasuriya caused him all kinds of problems. On a number of occasions, he beat the outside edge with sharp turns from just outside off, causing Babar all sorts of problems.
Nevertheless, in true Jayasuriya style, it was the one going on with the arm that would grab the breakthrough in the end.
There was still a chance for Sri Lanka to score another run if Nishan Madushka had held on to a sharp chance at short leg off Saud Shakeel, but aside from that, both Pakistan batsmen looked fairly nonplussed in their efforts.
There was no doubt that Shakeel and Shafique were comfortable using their feet, and despite the fact that it was a sparingly employed strategy, both players found the straight boundary whenever it was necessary to ease any buildup of pressure creating by the dot balls.
The fact that Sri Lanka had a difficult time getting consistent lines and lengths out of their bowlers, especially Ramesh Mendis, didn’t help the hosts cause either.
During the session, only Jayasuriya provided a concerted effort to probe, resulting in him bowling 15 straight overs for the final session of the match.
There is a chance of more rain in Colombo today, but Pakistan will likely feel comfortable with the rate at which they’re extending their lead considering the weather conditions.