Lahore: Sri Lanka was frustrated in its bid for victory in the Asian Test championship final against Pakistan as rain hit play on the fourth day on Saturday.
The inclement weather delayed Sri Lanka's hopes of a win as Pakistan finished the day on 248 for five, still needing 46 to avoid an innings defeat with experienced batsman Inzamam-ul Haq unbeaten on a fighting 72 and Shoaib Malik on a supporting 19. Around 323 minutes of play were lost, shortening the day by 58 overs. If the forecast for more rain proves accurate and Haq holds the fort, Pakistan could pull off a draw and retain its Asian Test title. Haq batted valiantly for 268 minutes and hit three fours in his innings, ably supported by Malik adding 67 runs for the sixth wicket. Pakistan progressed to 218 for five in the two short sessions of 51 minutes before rain forced the umpires to call an early tea. Sri Lanka showed its frustration as half of its side, manager Chandra Schaffer and coach Dav Whatmore pushed the ground staff to clear water on the covers. The Sri Lankan players helped the staff remove the covers before umpires Daryl Harper of Australia and Athar Zaidi of Pakistan announced resumption of play for 18.5 overs. "It was a good gesture to help the ground staff," Whatmore said but the Pakistan manager was unamused. "I don't know what is happening," Yawar Saeed grumbled as he believed Sri Lankan players should not have been allowed to remove the covers. "It's disappointing to have rain but you can't do much against the weather. We hope it would get clear on the fifth day so that we could force a win," Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya said. "Our hopes are pinned on Haq and if he could do that we will be delighted to force a draw," Pakistan captain Waqar Younis said, hoping Haq will take his team past Sri Lanka's total. Haq reached his 31st half-century when he drove Muralitharan to cover boundary for his third boundary. He reached the mark in 187 minutes.
Rain frustrates Lanka's win bid in Asian Test final