Herath guides Sri Lanka to tense win against Pakistan

The seemingly easy target, however, soon loomed large as Sami Aslam (2), Azhar Ali (0), Shan Masood (7), Babar Azam (3), Asad Shafiq (20), Sarfraz Ahmad (19), Hasan Ali (8), Mohammad Amir (9), Mohammad Abbas (0) were sent back to the pavilion by Sri Lanka's brilliant bowling.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah grabbed the key wicket of Dinesh Chandimal to leave visitors fighting to avoid defeat on Sunday. The 39-year-old left-armer grabbed 6 for 43 - taking 11 wickets in the match - as Pakistan slumped to 114 all-out chasing a target of 136 to win. Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail were stand out performers for Pakistan.

Chandimal looked like a captain who had finally got command of his ship as he, along with Dickwella, helped Sri Lanka safely to a total of 227/4 at the end of Day 1.

Rangana Herath claimed his 32nd five-wicket haul to ensure Pakistan's advantage was minimal but the tourists limped to 69 for four at the close, with all four wickets going to the slow bowlers. The five-for he took in Pakistan's first innings was his seventh against the team. Yet, we can hardly take our eyes off him when he bats.

Yasir Shah, Pakistan's ace leg-spinner, was rendered ineffective by Chandimal, even though he had troubled the rest of the Lankan batsmen continuously.

Herath opened the window of opportunity for Sri Lanka.

Chandimal added 134 for the fifth wicket with Niroshan Dickwella, who made a career-best 83, before frustrating Pakistan further with a 92-run stand for the sixth wicket with Dilruwan Perera, who made 33.

At Stumps on Day 3, Pakistan were 266-4 with Ali holding fort against a probing spin-attack and are 153 runs adrift of Sri Lanka's first inning total of 419. Credit goes to people like Dickwella and Karunaratne.

The two teams will now meet each other in the second and final Test beginning October 6 at the Dubai International Stadium, Dubai.

"Dickwella was outstanding in the second innings to get us to the 138 mark".

"We discussed at lunch break that we needed one good partnership and wanted that up front, but didn't get that". I've played almost 20 Tests, maybe that's why.

Asked how long he would like Herath to play in his side, given he is nearing 40, Chandimal made a little wish. "But obviously on the last day he was always going to be a factor and you have got to give him more respect but I would probably have liked to see our batsmen take him on".

"I am really proud of this achievement", Herath said.

  • Santos West