Courtesy: International Cricket Council
Pakistan clinched the three-Test series against Sri Lanka 1-0 after the third and final Test ended in a draw at Sharjah stadium here on Monday.
Persistent rain wiped out play in the pre-lunch session — a two hours and 35 minutes delay — which left Sri Lanka with little time to enforce a win despite declaring their second innings at 181-6, setting Pakistan a target of 255 in a possible 61 overs.
By tea, Sri Lanka had taken three early wickets and were pressing for a win. Pakistan lost a further wicket when opener Taufiq Umar fell for 39, before they finished at 87-4 when umpires called off the match four overs early due to bad light.
Skipper Misbah-ul Haq (nine) and Asad Shafiq (seven) survived some anxious moments to salvage a draw.
Pakistan won the second Test in Dubai by nine wickets after the first in Abu Dhabi ended in a draw. The result kept Pakistan on the sixth ranking, as they needed a 2-0 victory to jump one place up and replace Sri Lanka on fifth.
Pakistan started positively before losing Mohammad Hafeez (13), Azhar Ali (seven) and Younis Khan (11) in the space of 37 runs.
Hafeez had struck a boundary in the first over by Chanaka Welegedara but fell in an unwise manner, run out after taking a sharp single as he failed to beat a direct throw from mid-wicket by substitute Lahiru Thirimanne.
Ali, who scored a maiden hundred in the second Test, was trapped leg-before wicket by left-arm spinner Rangana Herath before Younis played an uppish drive off Welegedara and was caught at mid-on.
Umar miscued a drive off spinner Suraj Randiv and was caught by Kumar Sangakkara at point, leaving Pakistan at 77-4.
Misbah said the victory meant a lot to Pakistan cricket, in the news for the wrong reasons after the spot-fixing scandal. “It is a great win,” said Misbah, who has not lost a series since taking over in October last year. “That (scandal) happened last year but we have kept our focus and this is a great win for us.”
His counterpart Tillakaratne Dilshan said they tried their best to level the series. “We were determined to win this Test, but Pakistan played better and deserved to win the series. We need to start a series in a better way,” said Dilshan who has yet to win a Test since taking over as captain in May this year.
Sri Lanka, who have now gone 13 Tests without a win since beating India at Galle in 2009, had hoped to score some quick runs in order to set Pakistan a target and then get their rivals out for a victory.
But overnight rain and constant drizzle forced the umpires to keep the team away from the ground, part of which remained covered during the morning session.
When play finally resumed 35 minutes after lunch, Sri Lanka lost Kosala Kulasekara (seven) before declaring the innings at 181-6, after 2.2 overs of batting.
Opener Tharanga Paranavitana remained not out 76, made off 168 balls with five boundaries and a six. Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal finished with 3-50 and paceman Umar Gul took 2-44.
The series highlighted Sri Lanka’s batting frailties, especially in the first innings where they were bowled out for 197 and 239 in the first two Tests.
If not for Kumar Sangakkara’s 516 runs in six innings at 86.00, Sri Lanka would have been hard pressed to save the two matches.
Pakistan can take consolation from the fact that they have not lost a single series since the spot-fixing and corruption scandal of last year which ended in jail terms for their former Test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer.
Both teams will now start a five-match one-day series with the first game in Dubai on November 11. They will also play a Twenty20 in Abu Dhabi on November 25.