Sri Lanka within 5 wickets of series-tying win vs Pakistan
There were 66 overs remaining, with Babar Azam unbeaten on 76 but now batting with Pakistans lower order.Sri Lanka struck in the third over of the morning when Ramesh Mendis removed Imam-ul-Haq off his first delivery of the day.
Sri Lanka set Pakistan an improbable target of 508 runs to win in Galle, but the more realistic goal for the tourists was to bat through the final two days for a draw that would give them a 1-0 series victory. Resuming on 89 for one, Pakistan slumped to 188-5 at the first interval Thursday. There were 66 overs remaining, with Babar Azam unbeaten on 76 but now batting with Pakistan's lower order.
Sri Lanka struck in the third over of the morning when Ramesh Mendis removed Imam-ul-Haq off his first delivery of the day. Imam, on 49, attempted a cut shot but ended up getting a faint edge and was caught by Niroshan Dickwella to end a 55-run partnership with Babar. A 79-run stand followed for the third wicket before Jayasuriya struck to dismiss Mohammad Rizwan (37), who didn't play a shot to a straight delivery and was bowled.
Three overs later, Fawad Alam (1) was run out after a mix-up with his captain. Salman fell in the last over before lunch when Kusal Mendis took a well-anticipated catch at short leg to give Jayasuriya (3-86) his third wicket in the innings. It was the third wicket in the half-hour before the lunch interval.
There were some other nervous moments for Babar. He was given out LBW on 34 but he had the decision overturned on review. A couple of edges fell short of close-in fielders.
The series is being played against the backdrop of Sri Lanka's worst economic crisis since independence. There is a severe shortage of fuel, medicine and cooking gas and economic experts have warned of a pending food crisis.
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