Not a great day with the exception of the middle session. Sri Lanka is well on top, especially with those 2 breakthroughs before stumps. They have 5 front line bowlers and 2 specialist spinners in their line up. They will be backing themselves to level the series here. They have fielded an attacking composition in this crucial decider. As far as Pakistan is concerned, the batsmen need to play out the whole day tomorrow without getting bowled out. Misbah has been a bit on the quitter side with the bat in this series (2 40s) and they’ll need him to deliver with a noteworthy score of around a 70 odd at least and provide some calmness, direction and stability to the innings by occupying the crease and valuing his wicket as well as frustrating Sri Lanka with his disciplined and level headed approach.
Nonetheless, the inform Azhar Ali is unbeaten overnight, a man who has never scored a 50 in a vain cause and never failed to reach a 50+ score after 8 innings in the United Arab Emirates. They’ll want to be around 300/7 tomorrow at stumps. A draw looks like the best bet at this stage from the perspective of the hosts. The only way I see the hosts coming out on top is if Sri Lanka bat woefully in their 3rd innings perhaps because of a lack of time to push for the win and carelessly lose their wickets during the process. I don’t know whether how the events which unfolded in court had an effect on the team and their mindset and on field performance, but I won’t be surprised despite all what they say. Saeed Ajmal now is the leading test wicket taker this year and has 15 in the series. King Sanga’s form has been utterly remarkable and he is a front line candidate for the player of the series award. Sanath Jayasuria is back in the commentary box after being absent in the 2nd test due to Hong Kong Sixes participation. Pakistan unexpectedly named an unchanged line up whereas Sri Lanka made a few changes for a must win game. Dilshan returned back to open up and made his first meaningful score of the series.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has named a 16 man squad for the 5 match one day and 1 off T20 which commences a week today. Shahid Afridi makes a return to the team along with Abdul Razzaq. Safraz Ahmed will be the wicket keeper. Wahab Riaz has been excluded probably in light of the news that the ICC is widening their investigation after the players were found guilty for conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments earlier in the week.