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Cricket: Mathews keeps Sri Lanka afloat in first Test

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews continued his resistance-packed knock to take his team to 355-five at tea on the fourth day of the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

Mathews was 87 not out as he approached his second Test hundred and in company of Dinesh Chandimal (89) added an invaluable 138-run partnership for the fifth wicket to leave Pakistani bowlers frustrated in the first session.

At tea the other unbeaten batsman was Prasanna Jayawardene with 14 as Sri Lanka, who trailed by 179 runs in the first innings, now lead by 176 runs with five wickets intact.

Sri lost only one wikcets in the two sessions for an addition of 169 runs.

Mathews, who made 91 in the first innings, has so far hit nine boundaries and a six off 211-ball knock.

But both Mathews and Chandimal were not bothered at all and even the second new ball, taken at 249-4, failed to benefit Pakistan with a wicket as Sri Lanka reached 285-4 at lunch, adding 99 to their overnight score of 186-4.

Chandimal glanced off-spinner Saeed Ajmal for his seventh boundary to reach his fifth Test half-century off 79 balls.

Mathews was more aggressive, hitting Ajmal for a six early in the day and then took a single off the same bowler to reach his 12th fifty -- and second in the match following his 91 in Sri Lanka's first innings of 204.

Pakistan had made 383 in their first innings to gain a 179-run lead.

Ajmal, who took 18 wickets in Pakistan's 1-0 win over Sri Lanka in United Arab Emirates in 2011, failed to pose any danger for the batsmen as he was wicketless till now.

Pakistan had one chance to dismiss Chandimal in the second over after lunch when a edge off Bilawal Bhatti flew close to Ahmed Shehzad's outstretched hands in the second slip when the batsman was 71.

Finally, Junaid broke the stand at 324 when he had Chandmial caught at deep fine-leg off a miscued hook. Chandimal batted for 251 minutes and hit a dozen boundaries.

Pakistan started the day on a wrong note when wicket-keeper Adnan Akmal was ruled out of the three-Test series with a fractured finger and Younis Khan had to keep wickets.

Sarfraz Ahmed has been summoned as Akmal's replacement for the next two Tests, second in Dubai (January 8-12) and Sharjah (January 16-20).

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140103/cricket-mathews-keeps-sri-lanka-afloat-first-test