The second Test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, at Karachi, stood at an interesting scenario at the end of day 2 with both teams looking to make the most of day 3. The Pakistan openers, Shan Masood and Abid Ali, added 57 in 14 overs and remained undefeated at stumps; Pakistan are now 23 behind in the second innings.
On Day 3, Sri Lanka will expect their spinners Dilruwan Perera and Lasith Embuldeniya to make early inroads in the Pakistan innings. The focus should be to keep their target below 200, while Pakistan will focus to take a sizeable lead. Any target around 300 in the fourth innings for Sri Lanka would take this match towards a very interesting finish.
The Sri Lankan batsmen had to fight hard against the Pakistan pace trio of Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Naseem Shah. They lost both their overnight batsmen soon and were struggling at 80/5.
That was when Dinesh Chandimal (74) and Dhananjaya de Silva (32) came together to stitch a partnership of 67. Once Dhananjaya fell, Chandimal added 51 more with Dilruwan (48).
Dilruwan was eventually dismissed by Afridi, who finished the innings with two back-to-back wickets to record his first Test five-wicket haul. Mohammad Abbas took 4 wickets, while Naseem was unfortunate to miss out despite bowling pretty quick.
Babar Azam (Pakistan): Babar's last 6 Test innings scores were 1, 104, 97, 8, 102*, 60. It will very important for Pakistan for him to play a key role and hold one end up. A master class from Babar can take Pakistan to a massive lead and take Sri Lanka out of the match.
Lasith Embuldeniya (Sri Lanka): Embuldeniya is playing only his fifth Test, but will still hold the key in a quickly deteriorating pitch. Embuldeniya shows lots of maturity in his short career and the four wickets in the first innings should give him lots of confidence in the second innings where few quick wickets from him can push Pakistan back severely.
No favorites as such in the see-saw battle.