SL vs PAK, 2nd Test: Dinesh Chandimal grinds the visitors
Fifties from Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, and Dinesh Chandimal put Sri Lanka on top of Pakistan on Day 3 of the first Test. Sri Lankan batters exhibited resistance till the final moments to be the better side in contention. For Pakistan, spinners Mohammad Nawaz (5/88) and Yasir Shah (3/122) were spot on with their lengths. SL (329/9) have managed a lead of 333 runs.
Yasir would be pleased with his Day 3 heroics. He bowled full to get a thick edge off Fernando, who was caught at slips. He then bowled a jaffa, pitching a delivery way outside leg that turned sharply to clip Mendis' off stump. A quicker one bowled out Dhananjaya de Silva. He concluded the day with figures of 3/122.
Nawaz had last played a Test in 2016. However, the 28-year-old made his wait count as he trumped the Lankans' top and middle order on his Test return. He snapped up his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests (5/88). These are the second-best figures by a bowler in the ongoing Test after Prabath Jayasuriya's 5/82. Nawaz now has 11 Test wickets at 23.00.
Fernando, who resumed on 17*, showcased sheer class as he piled up a valiant 125-ball 64. He slammed a four toward mid-off, and later, ran a single off Yasir to register his sixth fifty in whites. The opener hit six fours and a six before he edged one to Babar Azam at slips. He now has 245 Test runs against Pakistan at 49.00.
Mendis, who came out to bat at 41/2, hammered Pakistan's bowling attack. He belted Yasir for boundaries throughout his stay. The number-four batter slammed nine fours en route to his 126-ball 76. He clocked his 15th fifty in Tests and first against Pakistan. Most notably, Mendis fetched a 91-run stand with Fernando to power the Lankans past 170.
Chandimal's pursuit of excellence saw him crack his 23rd fifty in whites. He forged a key 40-run stand with de Silva, and later, hoarded decent partnerships with the tail-enders. He stayed unscathed on 86 off 121 deliveries, hitting five fours and two sixes. It was his second fifty-plus score of the ongoing Test. He has raced past 4,800 (4,827) Test runs at 43.09.