Pallekele , Day 3
Having had a day to think about how to go about things Sri Lanka came out and plodded around for a bit before finding their feet. This was a massive innings for Paranavitana. But also one of those tailor made situations for a player to prove their worth. His side in trouble and looking to dig themselves out of a hole. Samaraweera found the perfect time to be his ally. It wasn’t a particularly pleasing innings. Nor was it a solid effort. But he did just about enough to possibly save his career. Again. He didn’t deserve a hundred purely based on the shot he played to get out. It was a weak effort from someone with one eye somewhere else.
With a lead of 10, 3 wickets left and Junaid bowling like a demon with the new ball, Pakistan could have kept SL in touching distance. They didn’t account for Perera and Kulesekara. It was brilliant tail batting, although to be fair neither of them are genuine tailenders. Both can bat a bit. Perera can hit it too. The fate of this game could have been settled by the batting of two bowlers.
Bowled ok throughout the day without much luck. Samaraweera’s drop hurt them for a further 40 runs. Might not look much on paper but on this pitch it was a lot. Ajmal came into the tour as the main threat. But Junaid has been the star. New ball, old ball, doesn’t matter. This kid is the real deal. Pakistan discover these diamonds in the rough pretty much every other tour. The most recent ones have been lost to dirty money, genital diseases and drugs. Pakistan would do well to put up a protective shield around Junaid.
The late wicket compounds their problems. You feel one of the next three have to score a hundred for them to stand a chance.
Blue Collar moment of the day
Paraney and Samaraweera. Strike rates nearing the 40s as a pair of batsmen isn’t going to fill the stands but when Sri Lanka needed them, they stepped up, or rather stood up in super slow motion in fact. Neither ever looked set and both were rather dour straight after lunch. We are used to see Samaraweera pulling up his sleeves and getting dirty and it was good to see Paranavitana giving him support and showing that he is capable and willing when he really really wants to be.
Balls of the day
Junaid Khan, we believe, has disease free ones made out of tempered steel
Play of the day
Toss up between the Perera, Kulesekara fiesta and Adnan Akmal cursing at the TV every time something went against Pakistan