Sri Lankan opener Dimuth Karunaratne hit a career best 196 which left Pakistan fighting to avoid defeat in the second day-night Test in Dubai on Saturday. Karunaratne missed a double hundred by four runs but lifted Sri Lanka to an imposing 482 in their first innings before Pakistan finished the second day at 51-0, still trailing by 431 runs.
Openers Sami Aslam and Shan Masood were not out at stumps, but Pakistan still need 231 to avoid the follow on.
Karunaratne played a marathon nine hour long innings, but was unluckily dismissed, playing onto leg-spinner Yasir Shah just. He hit 19 boundaries and a six, improving on his previous best Test score of 186 made against the West Indies at Galle two years ago.
He added 146 with skipper Dinesh Chandimal (62) for the fourth wicket before another 88 were put on for the fifth between him and Niroshan Dickwella, who made a quickfire 52. After Dickwela departure, he put on 59 for the sixth wicket with Dilruwan Perera, who scored a entertaining 58.
Dickwella’s assured knock had five boundaries before he edged pacer Mohammad Abbas to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed while Perera smashed seven boundaries before becoming Shah’s fifth wicket — his 13th five wicket haul in 28 Tests.
Abbas then had Suranga Lakmal for eight to finish with 2-100 while Shah ended the innings by dismissing Nuwan Pradeep for nought.
The solid first innings total has given Sri Lanka a unique chance for a series win over Pakistan at their neutral venues of the UAE, where they have never lost a series in nine attempts.
They have won five and drawn four in the UAE since the 2009 terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus forced them to play home matches outside of Pakistan.