Karunaratne 93, Chandimal 60* carry SL to safety

Friday, 29 September 2017 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

ESPNCricinfo: Following the nightmare that was the series against India, Sri Lanka’s batsmen applied themselves, saw out Yasir Shah, resisted Hasan Ali’s reverse swing, and mustered a day of unexpected competence in Abu Dhabi. Instrumental to fitting this innings with a backbone was Dimuth Karunaratne, whose 93 was the latest in a string of valuable innings this year.

Sri Lanka had threatened to collapse again, going to lunch at 61 for 3, but the century stand between Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal raised them out of danger. Niroshan Dickwella then added a finishing spark to the day, hitting 42 off 63 balls, and Sri Lanka reached a comfortable - if not quite safe - 227 for 4 by stumps.

The day had begun with so much promise for Pakistan - Yasir striking twice in that first session - but the bowlers could not manage a breakthrough after lunch. Hasan was intense in a seven-over burst of reverse-swing before tea, but though he drew an outside edge from Chandimal, and an inside edge from Karunaratne, a dismissal did not come. Late in the day, Chandimal was given out lbw for 58 when he shouldered arms to Mohammad Abbas, but that decision was overturned on review. Pakistan also burned their own reviews trying to get Yasir another wicket. Under the new rules, reviews are not replenished after 80 overs, so they are at the mercy of the umpires for the remainder of this innings.

Karunaratne was not quite as reticent as the batsmen around him, but nevertheless, barely ventured an adventurous shot, relying instead on his favourite legside flick. Almost half his runs came in the arc between square leg and long on, and nearly two thirds on the legside in general. His was the only intentional boundary of the first session, and he would go on to hit only four more - three of them off short, wide balls behind square. Despite being short of boundaries, he appeared more or less at ease at the crease until Yasir pinned him down in sight of a century.