Few had expected Pakistan to turn things around in such resounding fashion after they were bowled out for 191 in the first innings and, later, conceded a lead of 80. Shan Masood (135) and Abid Ali (174), having started positively on the second afternoon, both slammed hundreds and added 278 for the opening stand.
Azhar Ali (57*) and Babar Azam (22*) then took over, taking Pakistan to 395/2 by stumps. Pakistan now lead by 315 runs; with two days left and 8 wickets in hand, they are in a position to push for a win.
Lasith Embuldeniya (0/136) found considerable turn at times, which would have interested Yasir Shah. Having sent down only 13 wicketless overs in the first innings, Yasir will be keen to have a go at the Sri Lankans on the fourth and fifth days.
The day began with Pakistan on 57 for no loss, 23 behind. Vishwa Fernando (0/84) found some movement with a semi-new ball, but not for long. Then, once Abid settled down, he opened up in a flurry of boundaries. Masood took his time before joining the party; the pair added 118 in 26 overs before lunch – and eventually 278 in 68.3 overs.
Lahiru Kumara (2/88) eventually dismissed both batsmen – Masood caught at deep square-leg and Abid trapped leg-before when the latter missed one that kept low. The Sri Lankans bowled well in bursts, but failed to break through even after the openers fell.
Yasir Shah (Pakistan): As was evident, there is turn in the pitch. Embuldeniya had taken 4/49 on the first day. Pakistan's most experienced bowler will be key to their winning cause here.
Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka): If Sri Lanka are set anything in excess of 450, they will need someone to play a big innings. Who else but their captain, the best batsman in their XI?
Pakistan 191 (Asad Shafiq 63, Babar Azam 60; Lahiru Kumara 4/49, Lasith Embuldeniya 4/71) and 395/2 (Abid Ali 174, Shan Masood 135; Lahiru Kumara 2/88) lead Sri Lanka 271 (Dinesh Chandimal 71; Shaheen Shah Afridi 5/77, Mohamad Abbas 4/55) by 315 runs.
Pakistan to set Sri Lanka 450 and pick 4 or 5 wickets by stumps.