Sri Lanka close to historic victory

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The Independent Online

Chaminda Vaas and Pramodaya Wickremasinghe seized six Pakistan wickets to thrust Sri Lanka to the threshold of only their second away Test series triumph yesterday. It would also be only the third time this century a team has won a three-match series after going one down.

Left-arm bowler Vaas captured 4 for 16 in 12 overs and Wickremasinghe took 2 for 26 as Pakistan, needing 357 to win, collapsed to 99 for 6 at the close on the fourth day.

Sri Lanka, boosted by a solid 87 from captain Arjuna Ranatunga and 50 by Hashan Tillekeratne, declared their second innings at 338 for 9 just before tea, having started the day on 177 for 4. Ranatunga batted resolutely in his 284-minute stay, facing 183 balls and striking 10 fours before falling to a splendid slip catch by Inzamam off the pace bowler Mohammad Akram in the first over after lunch.

Vaas and Wickremasinghe destroyed Pakistan's top order inside 72 deliveries as the hosts slumped to 15 for 5. When play was halted 11 overs early due to fading light, wicketkeeper Moin Khan was propping up Pakistan with a gritty, unbeaten 46 and Aqib Javed was five not out.

Sri Lanka's only previous Test series win away was 1-0 in a two-match contest in New Zealand last March. Pakistan have not lost a Test series at home since West Indies beat them 1-0 in a four-match rubber in 1980- 81.

THIRD TEST (Sialkot, Pak)

(Fourth day of five; Sri Lanka won toss)

SRI LANKA - First Innings 232 (K Dharmasena 62 not out)

PAKISTAN - First Innings 214 (Muralitharan 4-72)

SRI LANKA - Second Innings

(Overnight 177 for four)

A Ranatunga c Inzamam b Mohammad 87

C Dunusinghe b Mohammad 7

H Tillekeratne b Aamir Sohail 50

K Dharmasena c Inzamam b Mohammad 7

U Vaas run out 27

M Muralitharan not out 0

Extras (b23, lb10, nb8) 41

Total (for 4 dec, 120.3 overs) 338

Fall of wickets: 1-37 2-71 3-97 4-175 5-206 6-265 7-279 8-338 9-338.

Did not bat: P Wickremasinghe.

Bowling: Aqib Javed 24-2-71-2 (nb3); Ata-ur-Rehman 23-5-66-1 (nb1); Mohammad Akram 20-5-39-3 (nb1); Aamir Nazir 17-2-55-1 (nb3); Aamir Sohail 25.3- 7-55-1; Shoaib Mohammad 11-3-19-0.

PAKISTAN - Second Innings

Aamir Sohail c Hathurusinghe

b Wickremasinghe 5

Shoaib Mohammad c and b Vaas 1

Ramiz Raja c Mahanama b Wickremasinghe 4

Inzamam-ul-Haq c Mahanama b Vaas 0

Basit Ali c Dharmasena b Vaas 27

Zahid Fazal c Gurusinha b Vaas 1

Moin Khan not out 46

Aqib Javed not out 5

Extras (b1 lb4 nb5) 10

Total (for 6, 36.4 overs) 99

Fall: 1-7 2-7 3-7 4-13 5-15 6-79

Bowling: Wickremasinghe 10-2-26-2 (nb4); Vaas 12-7-16-4; Gurusinha 3- 0-16-0; Dharmasena 6-2-11-0; Muralitharan 5-1-22-0 (nb1); de Silva 0.4- 0-3-0.