Shan Masood and Younis Khan compiled unbeaten centuries to keep Pakistan in the hunt for a landmark victory in the series-deciding third and final Test against Sri Lanka on Monday.
– The Ashes: A statistical review of cricket’s greatest rivalry
– #360debate: Who will claim 2015 Ashes glory?
– MCL: Khurram Khan signs up for inaugural tournament
– Cricket Xtra: Shah turns Ajmal into Pakistan’s forgotten man
Set a challenging target of 377 runs, the tourists recoverd from a shaky 13-2 to move to 230 without further loss by stumps on the rain-free fourth day in Pallekele.
Masood, the five-Test old left-hander, was unbeaten on 114, having reached his maiden century by lofting off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal for a six over long-on towards the end of play.
Younis, who made his 100th Test appearance in the second match of the series, got to his 30th century in the day’s last over. The pair have put on 217 so far for the third wicket with Younis on 101.
Pakistan will enter the final day’s play on Tuesday needing a further 147 runs with eight wickets in hand on a wearing, but easy-paced pitch at the Pallekele International Stadium.
If Pakistan win, it will be the first time a visiting team will have scored more than 300 runs in the fourth innings to win a Test on Sri Lankan soil.
Pakistan’s highest successful chase is 314 runs they made against Australia to win the Karachi Test way back in 1994.
Congratulations Younis Khan on becoming the first Test cricketer to score five centuries in the fourth innings #SLvsPAK
— PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) July 6, 2015
Younis Khan also becomes the first Pakistani to score 30 Test centuries #SLvPAK
— PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) July 6, 2015
Earlier, Sri Lanka’s captain Angelo Mathews was last man out for 122 as the hosts took their overnight score of 228-5 to 313 before they were all out at the stroke of lunch.
Pakistan, starting their second innings after the break, were dealt a blow before a run had been scored when seamer Suranga Lakmal bowled Ahmed Shehzad to claim his 50th Test wicket.
Sri Lanka struck again in the seventh over when Azhar Ali was caught down the leg-side by wicket-keeper Dinesh Chandimal off Dhammika Prasad for five.
Masood, on 79, was fortunate to survive a close shout for leg-before by Mathews, who asked for a review after on-field umpire Paul Reiffel had turned down the appeal.
Replays proved inconclusive whether the ball had hit the bat, but with both the Hot Spot and Snicko technologies not available in this series, the TV umpire gave the benefit of doubt to the batsman.
Pakistan’s fast bowler Imran Khan took all the five wickets that fell in the morning session in the space of 33 balls. Imran’s maiden five-wicket haul saw Sri Lanka lose their last five wickets for 35 runs after they were coasting at 278-5 in the first hour of play.
Remarkable 4th day at Pallekele We saw three 100s, one 100 & one 200 stands, three ducks, one part of a king pair and a 5wkt haul! #SLvPak
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) July 6, 2015
Mathews, who came in to bat on Sunday afternoon with his team reduced to 35-3, anchored the innings for more than six hours in which he hit 12 boundaries and a six.
Mathews reached his fifth Test century with a flick off Rahat Ali for two runs, but not before he lost two partners off consecutive balls when he was on 99.
Chandimal was trapped leg-before by Imran for 67, ending a 117-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Mathews.
Next man Prasad bagged a ‘king pair’– dismissed first ball in both innings — when he edged the next delivery from Imran to wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed.
Kaushal denied Imran a hat-trick with a defensive push, but the bowler had the last three batsmen caught behind to hasten the end of the innings.
Pakistan won the first Test in Galle by 10 wickets and Sri Lanka took the second in Colombo by seven wickets.
Ahead of the start of the first Test in Cardiff on Wednesday, cricket stats guru Mohandas Menon looks at the numbers behind cricket's greatest rivalry; The Ashes.
– #360debate: Who will win the 2015 Ashes series?
|Match results in Ashes series|
|Total in Ashes||320||103||128||89||1882-2014|
|In non-Ashes Tests||16||2||10||4||1877-1988|
|Overall head to head||336||105||138||93||1882-2014|
Note: Since 1877, 16 Tests have been played between the two sides that are not a part of the Ashes. The last such non-Ashes Test was the one-off Bicentenary Test match at Sydney from January 29 to February 2, 1988.
|Ashes series summary since 2000|
|Month, Year||Country||Mts||Eng||Aus||Draw||Series won|
|July to Aug 2001||in Eng||5||1||4||0||Australia|
|Nov 2002 to Jan 2003||in Aus||5||1||4||0||Australia|
|July-Sep 2005||in Eng||5||2||1||2||England|
|Nov 2006 to Jan 2007||in Aus||5||0||5||0||Australia|
|July to Aug 2009||in Eng||5||2||1||2||England|
|Nov 2010 to Jan 2011||in Aus||5||3||1||1||England|
|July to Aug 2013||in Eng||5||3||0||2||England|
|Nov 2013 to Jan 2014||in Aus||5||0||5||0||Australia|
Series summary: Played 8: England won 4, Australia 4, Drawn nil
|Overall Ashes series results|
|Venue||Series||Eng won||Aus won||Draw|
** Both teams have met each other in 68 Ashes series so far, of which 34 each been played in their respective countries. Australia are just ahead, having won the series on 32 occasions compared to England’s 31, with five series drawn.
** The Australians held the urn for the longest duration, from August 22, 1934 until August 18, 1953 – nearly 19 years. This, of course, was aided by the period between 1940 and 1945, when no Tests were played because of World War II. Otherwise, the record over the longest uninterrupted period is also held by the Aussies — from 1989 to 2005 – for 16 years. Incidentally, the England team held the Ashes for the shortest period for one year and three months from September 2005 to December 2006.
|Highest team totals in Ashes Tests|
|903-7d||at The Oval||Aug 1938||(Won)|
|658-8d||at Nottingham||June 1938||(Drawn)|
|644-10||at Sydney||Jan 2011||(Won)|
|729-6d||at Lord’s||June 1930||(Won)|
|701-10||at The Oval||Aug 1934||(Won)|
|695-10||at The Oval||Aug 1930||(Won)|
|Lowest team totals in Ashes Tests|
|45-10||at Sydney||Jan 1887||(Won)|
|52-10||at The Oval||Aug 1948||(Lost)|
|53-10||at Lord’s||Jul 1888||(Lost)|
|36-10||at Birmingham||May 1902||(Drawn)|
|42-10||at Sydney||Feb 1888||(Lost)|
|44-10||at The Oval||Aug 1896||(Lost)|
|Total individual 100s in Ashes Tests|
|Total 100s||521 (in England: 238, in Australia: 283)|
|By England||230 (in England: 108, in Australia: 122)|
|By Australia||291 (in England: 130, in Australia: 161)|
|Highest individual scores in Ashes Tests|
|364||by Len Hutton||at The Oval||Aug 1938||(Won)|
|287||by Reg Foster||at Sydney||Dec 1903||(Won)|
|256||by Ken Barrington||at Manchester||Jul 1964||(Drawn)|
|334||by Don Bradman||at Leeds||Jul 1930||(Drawn)|
|311||by Bob Simpson||at Manchester||Jul 1964||(Drawn)|
|307||by Bob Cowper||at Melbourne||Feb 1966||(Drawn)|
|Leading run-getters in Ashes Tests|
|3,636 by Jack Hobbs in 41 mts||71 inns||ave 54.27|
|3,037 by David Gower in 38 mts||69 inns||ave 46.01|
|2,852 by Walter Hammond in 33 mts||58 inns||ave 51.85|
|Most in England: 1,519 runs by Graham Gooch in 24 mts||44 inns||ave 34.52|
|5,028 by Don Bradman in 37 mts||63 inns||ave 89.78|
|3,222 by Allan Border in 42 mts||73 inns||ave 55.55|
|3,173 by Steve Waugh in 45 mts||72 inns||ave 58.75|
|Most in England: 2,674 runs by Don Bradman in 19 mts||30 inns||ave 102.84|
|Most individual 100s in Ashes Tests|
|England: 12 by Jack Hobbs||(Most in England: 5 by Stanley Jackson)|
|Australia: 19 by Don Bradman||(Most in England: 11 by Don Bradman)|
|Best bowling in an innings in Ashes Tests|
|10/53||by Jim Laker||at Manchester||Jul 1956||(Won)|
|9/37||by Jim Laker||at Manchester||Jul 1956||(Won)|
|8/35||by George Lohmann||at Sydney||Feb 1887||(Won)|
|9/121||by Arthur Mailey||at Melbourne||Feb 1921||(Won)|
|8/31||by Frank Laver||at Manchester||Jul 1909||(Drawn)|
|8/38||by Glenn McGrath||at Lord’s||Jun 1997||(Drawn)|
|Best bowling in a match in Ashes Tests|
|19/90||by Jim Laker||at Manchester||Jul 1956||(Won)|
|15/104||by Hedley Verity||at Lord’s||Jun 1934||(Won)|
|15/124||by Wilfred Rhodes||at Melbourne||Jan 1904||(Won)|
|16/137||by Bob Massie||at Lord’s||Jun 1972||(Won)|
|13/77||by Monty Noble||at Melbourne||Jan 1902||(Won)|
|13/148||by Bruce Reid||at Melbourne||Dec 1990||(Won)|
|Leading wicket-takers in Ashes Tests|
|128 by Ian Botham in 32 mts||ave 28.04|
|123 by Bob Willis in 31 mts||ave 24.37|
|109 by Wilfred Rhodes in 41 mts||ave 24.00|
|Most in England: 78 wickets by Ian Botham in 17 mts||ave 25.61|
|195 by Shane Warne in 36 mts||ave 23.25|
|157 by Glenn McGrath in 30 mts||ave 20.92|
|141 by Hugh Trumble in 31 mts||ave 20.88|
|Most in England: 129 wickets by Shane Warne in 22 mts||ave 21.94|
|Overall Test record|
Ahead of this week’s first Test in Cardiff, Sport360’s Assistant Editor Jaideep Marar and Assistant News Editor Ajit Vijaykumar debate whether Australia can retain the Ashes on English soil.
– #360LIVE: Ball-by-ball updates of Sri Lanka vs Pakistan
– MCL: Khurram Khan signs up for inaugural tournament
– Cricket Xtra: Shah turning Ajmal into a forgotten man
– UAE: ICC Academy and GEMS sign new partnership
Join in the discussion and have your say by using #360debate on social media or commenting below.
YES – Jaideep Marar
Everything is going swimmingly for Australia in the build-up to the Ashes. They won a Test series in the West Indies weeks before they landed in England and then went on to record back-to-back victories in the tour games to set themselves up nicely ahead of the first Test in Cardiff.
On current form, they are easily the favourites and in best shape to register their first Ashes win in England after 14 years.
The only setback they have suffered has been in the form of Ryan Harris, who retired following a knee injury. Otherwise, it’s all systems go for Clarke & Co.
Australia also steal a march over their arch-rivals in terms of experience and overall strength. Look at the battle for places in the Aussie camp: Chris Rogers and Shaun Marsh for the opening slot, Mitchell Marsh and Shane Watson for the all-rounder’s spot, Peter Siddle and the young pacers.
Such competition not only motivates the players to give their best but it also presents the selectors and captain with a lot of options.
The regulars are also primed for action beginning with opener David Warner, their best batsman and World No1 Steven Smith, captain Michael Clarke and fast bowlers Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
— ICC (@ICC) July 4, 2015
In comparison, England are still in rebuild mode. There is too much attention on new coach Trevor Bayliss, an Aussie, as if he has some magical powers to cure all ills ailing the team. Bayliss can only lead the horse to the water but eventually it is the players who have to step up.
An unsettled opening combination and a wobbly middle order will be easy pickings for Clarke’s army.
Past results on English soil over the last decade may not have gone in Australia’s favour, with seven defeats and just two wins in 15 Tests, but this bunch looks set to improve upon that.
There appears to be no apparent weakness in the squad. Even the Dad’s Army jibe has taken a beating with the 22-year-old Pat Cummins replacing the 35-year-old Harris.
Of course, Harris’ indomitable spirit and fighting qualities will be sorely missed but Australia still have a formidable workforce to tame the Englishmen.
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) July 6, 2015
NO – Ajit Vijaykumar
The Ashes is ultimately a bowlers series with the better bowling attack largely ensuring their team comes out on top in the five-match series.
During the last battle Down Under, the Aussies clean swept the series and a big credit for that went to Mitchell Johnson for the fear that he spread among the English camp. But crucial wickets were being taken at the other end, more often that not, with the unrelenting Ryan Harris the star of the show.
While Johnson struck the physical blows, it was Harris and spinner Nathan Lyon who did the crucial clean up. England did not have a similar arsenal and were duly blown away, but the situation is different this time around.
Harris has announced his retirement after his troublesome knee again gave way and as one of the most effective bowlers of the past decade, Australia will miss him.
Secondly, Johnson of 2015 is not the Johnson of late 2013 and early 2014. Also, Lyon has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders but the series has not started well for him, having been thrashed for 200 runs in 34 overs in a warm-up game against Essex.
— Star Sports (@StarSportsIndia) July 5, 2015
That leaves the Aussies with left-arm quick Mitchell Starc, greenhorn Josh Hazlewood and and ageing Peter Siddle who has lost more than a couple yards of pace and zip.
It means James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn and Ben Stokes can match the Aussies in bowling firepower. If it that happens, they can pull the rug from underneath the much-fancied Aussies.
Australia have some concerns in the batting department with elder statesmen Chris Rogers, Brad Haddin and Michael Clarke expected to face a tough time.
England, meanwhile, have turned over a new leaf since their World Cup woes with a refreshingly attacking display in the series against New Zealand.
The Englishmen have a proud record at home and have beaten the Aussies in the last three series in their own backyard.
With their positive intent and an opponent with a few chinks in the armour, England should fancy their chances.