Sri Lanka did not take long to put an end to the prolonged heartbeats of anxiety of several hours on the fourth day by Pakistan’s 146-run sixth wicket claw back from 52 for 5 wickets fronted by Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed on Monday. The duo were separated after adding a further 27 runs as Dinesh Chandimal and his young fleet sped to a 68-run historic pink ball second Test triumph and as much denting Pakistan’s hitherto unbeaten record in Test cricket in the UAE since 2013 when the game was relocated by a 2-nil drubbing of Sarfraz Ahmed’s team in their own den in the UAE. Pakistan’s first ever series defeat in the UAE came in their 10th series having won 05 and drawn 04.
As a joyous Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal put it was a ‘heart and soul effort’ by virtual new bucks with former skipper Angelo Mathews too not in the picture through injury as the island nation mounted its quest in great fashion to break a bad run. Chandimal blamed the dew factor that did not enable a proper grip of the ball that was unhelpful to his bowlers in the latter part of the fourth day when Shafiq and Ahmed threatened to take the game away from Sri Lanka. “But we were confident that on resumption this morning we would get the breakthrough to wrap it up,” he rounded off at the awards ceremony.
The wrecker was off spinner Dilruwan Perera who finished with remarkable figures of 5 for 98 having started the rot on the fifth and final day by getting rid of the thorny Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed for 68 caught by Nuwan Pradeep. Pakistan was reduced to 225 for 6 and from there on it was only a formality as the last four wickets fell like nine pins.
Shafiq went on to compile a back to the wall century 112 in 251 minutes and 176 balls containing 10 boundaries in a praiseworthy effort that could not endure to stall Sri Lanka’s famous series win in the Dubai desert terrain. The rest perished for 4 (Mohammad Amir) 5 (Yasir Shah) and 1 (Wahab Riaz).
The Man of the Match and man of the Series awards went to opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-