Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, 2nd Test Day 4 preview: Bowlers need to back the Masood-Abid show

Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, 2nd Test Day 4 preview: Bowlers need to back the Masood-Abid show

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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.

Key players

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?

Brief scores

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.

Prediction

Pakistan to set Sri Lanka 450 and pick 4 or 5 wickets by stumps.