Pakistan struck twice in the last 15 minutes of Day 4 at Karachi to squeeze whatever life there was in Sri Lanka's fourth-innings effort. They have a full day to pick up 3 wickets and win the first Test on home soil after 13 years. Sri Lanka's score, 212/7 in pursuit of 476, is inconsequential.
At the crease is Oshada Fernando, on 102, a maiden Test hundred he will cherish forever. He has resisted some sustained quality fast bowling from Shaheen Shah Afridi (1/51), Mohammad Abbas (1/33), and Naseem Shah (3/31) throughout the day, not missing out on any opportunity to score.
However, it is unlikely that Oshada – in the company of Vishwa Fernando, Lasith Embuldeniya, and Lahiru Kumara – will be able to save the Test.
Oshada had found support in Niroshan Dickwella (65 in 76). They got together at 97/5, it seemed that Pakistan would wrap things up well inside four days, and added 104 before Dickwella was bowled by Haris Sohail (1/13) while attempting a reverse-sweep. Naseem then had Dilruwan Perera (5) caught off the last ball of the day.
The Sri Lankan top order had crumbled against the fast bowlers and Yasir Shah (1/84). Two batsmen scored ducks, one other got 2, and nobody reached 20.
Earlier, Azhar Ali (118) and Babar Azam (100*) both got their respective hundreds. This was only the second instance in history when the top four of a Test innings all got hundreds. Embuldeniya (1/193) got the only wicket for Sri Lanka when he had Azhar stumped.
Naseem Shah (Pakistan): Naseem, all of 16, has impressed in all 3 of his Tests so far. Two more wickets will get him that maiden five-wicket haul, something he has so richly deserved.
Oshada Fernando (Sri Lanka): Up against a steep target away from home, Oshada has already shown his ability to handle pressure with a hundred in the fourth innings. A draw may be too far-fetched, but what if?
Pakistan 191 (Asad Shafiq 63, Babar Azam 60; Lahiru Kumara 4/49, Lasith Embuldeniya 4/71) and 555/3 decl. (Abid Ali 174, Shan Masood 135, Azhar Ali 118, Babar Azam 100*; Lahiru Kumara 2/88) lead Sri Lanka 271 (Dinesh Chandimal 71; Shaheen Shah Afridi 5/77, Mohamad Abbas 4/55) and 212/7 (Oshada Fernando 102*, Niroshan Dickwella 65; Naseem Shah 3/31) by 263 runs.
Pakistan to win before lunch.