Shafiq and Sarfraz give Pakistan hope of unlikely win
Asad Shafiq andÂ Sarfraz Ahmed gave Pakistan hope of drawing the series with an unlikely victory in a captivating second Test after Sri Lanka were embarrassingly dismissed for only 96 on day four in Dubai.
Wahab Riaz took 4-41 and part-time spinnerÂ Haris Sohail (3-1) became the first manÂ to take three wickets bowling just one over in the longest formatÂ as the tourists were pitifully skittled out on Monday.
Dilruwan Perera (3-76) came to the fore to leave Pakistan in the mire onÂ 52-5 chasing 317 to win, but ShafiqÂ (86 not out) and captainÂ Sarfraz (57no) came to the rescue with an unbroken stand of 146Â â€“ a record for the sixth wicket against Sri Lanka.
Pakistan, striving to avoid a first Test series defeat in the United Arab Emirates since they have been unable to play on home soil, closed on 198-5 andÂ require another 119Â to complete a remarkable fightback and salvage a 1-1 draw on the final day.
Sri Lanka slumped to 34-5 in a dramatic final session on day three and were six down for 59 when Niroshan Dickwella (21) was well taken by wicketkeeper Sarfraz to become Wahab's fourth victim after the dangerous left-hander struckÂ four boundaries.
Dilruwan followed in the next over when he was trapped in front by a Yasir Shah flipper and Sohail wrapped up the tail in a flash by getting Rangana Herath,Â Kusal Mendis and Nuwan Pradeep in an astonishing over.
Debutant Lahiru Gamage was left frustrated when he had Sami Aslam caught at second slip early in Pakistan's run chase but was deemed to have over-stepped, before getting rid of the opener in the same manner two balls later.
PakistanÂ collapsedÂ feebly in their first innings and looked set for a crushing loss when they lost four wickets in the space of nine overs in the second session.
DilruwanÂ seemingly put Sri Lanka well on their way to victory after Pradeep removed Azhar Ali,Â Sohail feathering one behind which turned awayÂ before the all-rounder saw the back of Shan Masood and Babar AzamÂ in the same over.
Shafiq andÂ Sarfraz both had a stroke of luck whenÂ Mendis failed to hold on to sharp chances at short leg in consecutive deliveries, but the pair showed their team-mates how to counter the spin as they batted with increasing assurance.Â
They used their feet expertly and waited for loose deliveries to be served up, Shafiq bringing up his 19th Test half-century with aÂ sumptuous cut to the boundary and Sarfraz also passing fiftyÂ by pullingÂ Mendis for four.
Sri Lanka were unable to conjure up a late breakthrough and lost their second review in the final over of a day which left the outcome in the balance, with the tourists having only seven overs to wait before they can take the new ball on day five.