PALLEKELE, July 3 (AFP): Sri Lanka�s Dimuth Karunaratne hit a century amid another rich haul by Pakistani leg-spinner Yasir Shah as the decisive third and final Test began on a rousing note here today.
The hosts, sent in to bat after Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq won the toss for the third time in a row, stuttered to 272-8 in their first innings by stumps on the opening day.
Left-handed Karunaratne anchored the innings with a dogged 130, his second Test century following the 152 against New Zealand in Christchurch last December.
Yasir ended the day with four for 77, taking his tally in the series to 21 wickets, the most by a Pakistani bowler in a three-Test rubber in Sri Lanka.
Yasir enabled Pakistan to keep the runs in check despite conditions favouring the batsmen on the evenly-paced pitch after the initial moisture on the wicket had dried up under the hot sun.
The series is locked 1-1 after Pakistan won the first Test by 10 wickets and Sri Lanka responded with a seven-wicket victory in the second match.
Pakistan secured an early break with the wicket of Kaushal Silva, who had scored 125 in Galle and 80 in Colombo.
This time Silva made nine when he was caught behind off left-arm seamer Rahat Ali, who was picked alongside Ehsan Ali and Imran Khan in a new-look pace attack for the decider.
The left-handed pair of Karunaratne and Upul Tharanga put on 91 for the second wicket on either side of lunch to lift the score to 106 for one, before three wickets fell for 31 runs.
Sri Lanka 1st innings: Karunaratne st Sarfraz b Azhar 130, Silva c Sarfraz b Rahat 9, Tharanga c Younis b Yasir 46, Thirimanne c sub (Azam) b Yasir 11, Mathews c sub (Azam) b Yasir 3, Mubarak st Sarfraz b Yasir 25, Chandimal lbw b Rahat 24, Prasad c Yasir b Azhar 0, Kaushal not out 17, Lakmal not out 1, Extras: (lb3, w3) 6; Total (for eight wickets, 86 overs) 272; Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-106, 3-133, 4-137, 5-204, 6-248, 7-248, 8-264; Bowling: Rahat 19-2-74-2, Ehsan 14-3-37-0, Imran 15-3-46-0, Yasir 31-4-77-4, Azhar 7-0-35-2.