Sharjah, United Arab Emirates – Pakistan paceman Junaid Khan took two wickets on successive deliveries to deprive Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews a deserving hundred on the second day of the third and final Test in Sharjah on Friday.
Mathews was shaping well for his third Test century – the second in this series – when he miscued a drive off Junaid and was caught by a diving Ahmed Shehzad for 91 before Sri Lanka reached tea at 359/8.
Debutant Dilruwan Perera had completed his maiden half-century and was batting on 54 with Shaminda Eranga unbeaten on two.
Dilruwan hit Junaid for his seventh boundary to become the 15th Sri Lankan to score a fifty on his Test debut. He has also hit a six during his enterprising knock, supporting his skipper.
Next ball, Junaid trapped Rangana Herath leg before for nought to end Pakistan's wait for wickets in their bids to level the series.
Sri Lanka won the second Test in Dubai to take a 1-0 lead after the first Test in Abu Dhabi ended in a draw.
Mathews once again anchored the Sri Lankan batting, defying Pakistan's bowling for six hours on a flat Sharjah stadium pitch which had little for bowlers.
Mathews added an invaluable 112 runs for the seventh wicket with Perera to thwart Pakistan's efforts for quick wickets in the two-and-a-half hour session, extended due to Friday prayers.
Pakistan's pace-cum spin attack was left frustrated by Mathews, who also added 73 for the sixth wicket with Prasanna Jayawardene who was the only man out in the first session, caught hooking off paceman Mohammad Talha.
Mathews, who hit 91 and a career best 157 not out in the drawn first Test in Abu Dhabi, took full advantage of the drop caught and bowled chance by Talha on Thursday when on nought, by hitting five boundaries and a six off 256-balls.
Resuming at 220-5, Sri Lanka's batsmen batted solidly in both the sessions.
Pakistan did waste their second referral when Mathews, on 34, was given not out by English umpire Richard Kettleborough, and TV replays showed the ball missing the stumps.
Mathews then hit Junaid for a boundary, and in his next over took a single to complete his half-century. He continued to bat with authority before his dismissal just before tea. – Sapa-AFP