Dimuth Karunaratne hit 50 off 56 balls as Sri Lanka trounced Pakistan by seven wickets in the second Test in Colombo on Monday to square the three-match series 1-1. Chasing 153 to win, the hosts made light of a delayed start of 30 minutes due to a wet outfield and raced to victory in 26.3 overs before lunch on the fifth and final day at the P. Sara Oval. Karunaratne and skipper Angelo Mathews added a brisk 72 for the third wicket after two wickets had fallen with the score on 49 to raise Pakistan's hopes. Mathews remained unbeaten on 43, sharing a fourth-wicket partnership of 32 with Lahiru Thirimanne, who hit the winning boundary off leg-spinner Yasir Shah.
The win ended Sri Lanka's three-match losing streak at the P. Sara Oval and set up a potentially thrilling finale when the third Test begins at the Pallekele stadium near the popular hill resort of Kandy on Friday. Mathews said it was a very good comeback by his team after losing the first Test in Galle by 10 wickets. "The boys showed a lot of character after that defeat," he said, adding it was important to go for quick runs in the second innings because of the threat of rain. "We wanted to bat positively because we were not sure about the weather," he said. "We gave the boys the green signal to play freely because it is easy to get bogged down." Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said being bowled out for 138 on the first day after electing to bat had cost his team dearly.
"That session from lunch to tea on the first day really dented us because we lost all our main batsmen in that period," he said. "It made all the difference in the match. "The batting in the first innings is not consistent enough and that is a big worry for us. We put up a big score at Galle and here we collapsed from 74 for three to 138 all out. "The bowling has been good, especially Yasir who now has 54 wickets from his first nine matches. He is a match-winner, but the injury to Wahab (Riaz) was a big blow." Pakistan pace spearhead Wahab suffered a hairline fracture of his left hand while batting on the first day and has been ruled out of the series. "Hopefully we will recover from this loss and try and win the final Test," said Misbah. Kithuruwan Vithanage, promoted to open the batting in place of Kaushal Silva, smashed four boundaries and two sixes in an aggressive 34 off 23 balls. The left-hander contributed a major share of the 49-run opening stand with Karunaratne, when Pakistan hit back with two wickets off successive balls. Vithanage holed out in the deep off the last ball of left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar's second over after striking two sixes earlier in the over.
Veteran Kumar Sangakkara, playing his last Test match against Pakistan, fell to the first delivery he faced, caught at short-leg by Azhar Ali off Yasir. Sangakkara, 37, Test cricket's leading current run-getter, said on Saturday he will appear in only the first two Tests against Pakistan and play two more against India in August before retiring from the international game. Karunaratne had hit four boundaries when he was leg-before to Yasir with 32 runs still needed for victory, but vice-captain Thirimanne partnered his skipper to a facile win.
Hard-working Sri Lankan seamer Dhammika Prasad was named man of the match for his seven wickets in the Test. Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by seven wickets to level the series 1-1. Needing 153 after a delayed start, the hosts romped to 153-3 in 26.3 overs to beat the threat of rain and get home for lunch with Thirimanne hitting the winning boundary. Karunaratne led the run-chase with a fluent 50 while a promoted Vithanage cracked a breezy 34 off 23 balls wth four boundaries and two sixes. There was some concern when Sangakkara fell for a golden duck but skipper Mathews steadied the ship to guide them past the line remaining unbeaten on 43. Karunaratne has to go after being adjudged leg before playing across to Shah with the decision being upheld after a review. SL 121-3, 20.2 overs. Dimuth Karunaratne lbw b Yasir Shah 50 (57b 4×4 0x6) Karunaratne has completed a fluent half century to put Sri Lanka on course to victory. Karunaratne and Mathews have added 50 off 62 balls as Sri Lanka are doing it easily. Karunaratne gets a boundary with a reverse sweep off Shah while Mathews has punched Shah magnificently through the covers for a boundary. SL 76-2, 12 overs.
It's game on as Sangakkara is out for a golden duck being snapped up at short leg off Shah. SL 49-2, 7.1 overs. Kumar Sangakkara c Azhar Ali b Yasir Shah 0 (1b 0x4 0x6) Vithanage is turning it on slamming two consecutive sixes off Babar before holing out to midwicket. SL 49-1, 7 overs. Kithruwan Vithanage c Mohammad Hafeez b Zulfiqar Babar 34 (23b 4×4 2×6) Sri Lanka are in cruise control with Vithanage pulling Shah to the square leg fence. S 36-0, 6 overs. Vithanage survives the first ball from Babar as Sarfraz misses a stumping chance. SL 31-0, 5 overs. Vithanage makes his intentions clear flicking the first ball he faced from Junaid to midwicket for a boundary. SL 11-0, 1 over.
Sri Lanka open with Vithanage and Karunaratne who punches the first ball from Junaid to the fence through mid-on. Heavy overnight rain has caused a delay to the start of proceedings on the final day with Sri Lanka needing 153 to level the three-match series. Seamer Dhammika Prasad claimed four wickets to put Sri Lanka on top in the second Test in Colombo on Sunday despite a defiant century from Azhar Ali. Pakistan, who trailed by 177 on the first innings, were bowled out for 329 in their second knock by tea on the fourth day to leave the hosts a target of 153 runs to level the three-match series. But heavy rain washed out play in the final session, setting the stage for an absorbing final day on a wearing P. Sara Oval – provided the forecast of more bad weather proves wrong. Pakistan won the first Test in Galle by 10 wickets.