Sri Lanka checked by Ajmal’s late strikes

SHARJAH, November 6, 2011 (AFP) – Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal took two wickets in an over to check Sri Lanka’s victory bids on the fourth day of the third and final cricket Test against Pakistan at Sharjah stadium here on Sunday. The wily-spinner dismissed Angelo Mathews (13) and Kaushala Silva (nought) in the final hour to stop Sri Lanka who were on the right track after half-centuries by Tharanaga Paranavitana and Kumar Sangakkara.

Sri Lanka, aiming to level the three-Test series after losing the second Test in Dubai by nine wickets, will seek some quick runs early on Monday, with Paranavitana unbeaten on 66 and Kosala Kulasekera on four not out.

They lead by 237 runs with five wickets intact on a weary pitch which helped the spinners as Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez and Abdul Rehman troubled the batsmen with spin and deliveries that kept low.

The first match in Abu Dhabi ended as a draw. Paranavitana, dropped on two and 25, batted valiantly to keep Sri Lanka in the hunt as they lost Tillakaratne Dilshan (four), Sangakkara (51) and Mahela Jayawardene (20) while in search for quick runs.

Paranavitana has so far hit four boundaries and a six during his enterprising 156-ball knock.

Paceman Umar Gul provided Pakis