COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Rangana Herath snared five wickets to limit Pakistan to 244-6 at stumps on day two of the second test after Sri Lanka posted 320 in the first innings on Friday.
Herath starred with the bat and ball; he was in the Sri Lanka tail that added an invaluable 59 for the last two wickets, then he turned around and rattled Pakistan's top order, reducing them to 140-5.
At that point, Sarfraz Ahmed and Asad Shafiq revived Pakistan with a 93-run partnership for the sixth wicket at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
Shafiq (42) was dismissed shortly before stumps, giving Herath his 20th five-wicket haul and ending the 149-ball stand. Ahmed was unbeaten on 66 facing 81 deliveries and hitting five boundaries. Batting with him was Abdul Rehman on 1, and the tail exposed.
Pakistan trailed Sri Lanka by 76 runs.
Herath also took the wickets of Khurram Manzoor (23), Azhar Ali (32), Younis Khan (13) and captain Misbah-ul-Haq (5) to finish the day with figures of 25-3-98-5.
Playing in his 17th test against Pakistan, Herath has taken 79 wickets against them.
"I don't do anything special," Herath said when asked about his phenomenal record against Pakistan. "Even with other countries I stick to the basics, but I realized Pakistanis don't play very well against me."
Pakistan started well with 47 for the opening wicket before Herath beat Manzoor with his flight and had him caught behind by wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella. A promising 63-run partnership followed between Shehzad and Azhar Ali, who threw it away when he suddenly charged at Herath only to hit straight to short-midwicket and Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews.
Opener Ahmed Shehzad made 58 off 85 balls, and hit seven boundaries before being caught down the legside by Dickwella off spinner Dilruwan Perera at 122-3.
Younis Khan followed four overs later, out caught spectacularly when he played a forward defensive stroke and silly point fielder Kaushal Silva dived forward, and flicked the ball with his fingertips to Dickwella behind the stumps.
Herath produced another flighted delivery to dismiss Pakistan captain Misbah for a catch to Dickwella to reach 250 test wickets in his 57th match.
Herath made his debut in 1999 and wondered what he might have achieved if he hadn't been blocked from a regular place in the side by the great Muttiah Muralitharan, who retired in 2010 with a world record haul of 800 wickets.
"I missed some cricket at the beginning," Herath said. "If you see the last five to six years, I have taken more than 200 wickets, and that's a big achievement as a spinner."
In the morning session Friday, Sri Lanka resumed from its overnight score of 261-8 and plundered a bonus 59 runs.
Dhammika Prasad (13), Herath (17) and last man Chanaka Welegedara, 27 not out off 30 balls, ensured a competitive total.
Pakistan seamer Junaid Khan completed his fifth five-wicket haul in tests, 5-87. All of his five-wicket hauls have come against Sri Lanka, with two at the Sinhalese Sports Club. Wahab Riaz supported him well with 3-88.
Younis Khan recorded his 100th test catch when he snapped up Herath at slip to end the Sri Lanka innings.
© Coast Reporter