Third opener after Jayasuriya, Atapattu to pass 3000 Test runs : Karunaratne misses double ton but Sri Lanka on top | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Third opener after Jayasuriya, Atapattu to pass 3000 Test runs : Karunaratne misses double ton but Sri Lanka on top

Dimuth Karunaratne of Sri Lanka leave the field after being dismissed by Wahab Riaz of Pakistan during the second day of the second Test cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at Dubai International Stadium in Dubai on October 7, 2017.  - AFP PHOTO
Dimuth Karunaratne of Sri Lanka leave the field after being dismissed by Wahab Riaz of Pakistan during the second day of the second Test cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at Dubai International Stadium in Dubai on October 7, 2017. - AFP PHOTO

DUBAI, Saturday – Dimuth Karunaratne was left to rue another missed opportunity when he was dismissed four runs short of what would have been his maiden Test double hundred, but nevertheless his protracted knock has placed his team in a strong position to push for a series win over Pakistan.

By the close of the second day of the second Test, Pakistan in reply to Sri Lanka’s first innings of 482 were 51 without loss to trail by 431 runs.


Dimuth Karunaratne of Sri Lanka is dismissed by Wahab Riaz of Pakistan during the  second day of the second Test cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at Dubai International Stadium in Dubai on October 7, 2017.  / AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE

If ever anyone deserved a double hundred it was Karunaratne who was faultless in his 568 minutes at the crease as he ground Pakistan into the Dubai desert dust hitting 19 fours and a six in his 405-ball innings for 196 that has now become his highest Test score having surpassed the previous best of 186 against West Indies at Galle in 2015.

The manner of his dismissal was unfortunate because he played onto a delivery from Wahab Riaz that came off the inside edge of his bat and ricocheted onto the stumps off his body. Karunaratne could not believe his bad luck, but he had to go wearily having batted for nearly 4 1/2 sessions.

During the course of his marathon stint Karunaratne passed 3000 Test runs and joined Sri Lanka legends Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvan Atapattu as the only openers to reach the landmark in the country’s history.

With Karunaratne solid at one end Sri Lanka built on some useful partnerships – 146 with Dinesh Chandimal, 88 with Niroshan Dickwella and 59 with Dilruwan Perera that piled on the misery for Pakistan.

Pakistan broke through within the first hour’s play when Chandimal was dismissed by Yasir Shah without offering a shot for 62. The Lankan captain was undone by Yasir’s previous delivery that gripped and turned but on this occasion it didn’t and it resulted in his dismissal. Strangely Chandimal did not ask for a review because replays later showed the ball missing the stumps.

Chandimal’s dismissal brought to an end a century liaison for the fourth wicket with Karunaratne who soon after moved to his third score of 150 and over in a Test innings bringing it up off 314 balls (16 fours, 1 six).

When the Karunaratne-Dickwella partnership flourished Pakistan already down to three front line bowlers suffered a mild jolt when Wahab Riaz pulled up five times in his 19th over before finally delivering the ball to Karunaratne. Thankfully Riaz was not suffering from any injury but was out of rhythm and recovered during the tea break to resume bowling and eventually take Karunaratne’s wicket.

Notwithstanding the lengthy batting performance put up by the Sri Lankan batsmen Pakistan’s agony continued when they lost the services of key bowler Amir who came onto the field briefly to bowl three overs before going back to have an MRI scan on his right shin.

With Amir out of the attack the onus of shouldering the brunt of the bowling fell on the tired fingers and shoulders of leg-spinner Yasir Shah who send down a marathon 55.5 overs for six wickets for 184 - his fifth five-for in consecutive Tests, the 13th of his career and fifth against Sri Lanka.

Pakistan perhaps may have erred in not going with a second spinner on this pitch. They went with only one in the first Test and lost it.

Sri Lanka leads the two-match series 1-0.

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