Abu Dhabi: Veteran Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath spun a web around the Pakistani batsmen to hand Sri Lanka an improbable 21-run victory in the UAE on Monday.
The Pakistan batting, in pursuit of 136, faltered badly as they were unable to tackle the the 39-year-old’s left-arm spin bowling. Eventually, they were bowled out for just 114, with Herath being the star with the ball with figures of 6/43. He has taken a total of 11 wickets in the game.
The Sri Lankan became the second one from the country to go past 400 Test wickets, after the legendary Muttiah Muralitharan. He now has 101 wickets against Pakistan, the most by any bowler. Adding to all these, he also became the first left-arm spinner in the histories of Test cricket to take 400 wickets.
After having battered and bruised by the Indians across all formats in the home series, such an incredible performance would definitely be a welcome boost for them as they look forward to carry this ok for the remainder of the series.
Earlier, led by a brilliant 155 from skipper Dinesh Chandimal, Sri Lanka posted 419 runs in the first innings. Opener Dimuth Karunaratne also came good with a belligerentt 93 while wicketkeeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella batted valiantly for 83.
Pakistan in reply batted well to end up with 422 with opener Shan Masood and Sami Aslam scoring fifties. Azhar Ali top scored with 85 runs while Haris Sohail held fort towards the end with 76. Herath was the most successful bowler with figures of 5/93.
Leg-spinner Yasir Shah now came into the act as he scalped five wickets to have the Lankans bowled out for just 138 runs, leaving a target of 136, to be chased by Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men to take a lead in the series. Only Dickwella crossed the 30-run mark with a timely 40 of 76 balls that ensured that the visitors have something on the board to bowl at.
But Herath did the star turn for his team as he broke the back of the hosts batting line-up to help Sri Lanka go 1-0 up in the series. Haris Sohail, followed up his 76 from the first innings with 34 runs but that wasn’t enough in the end.
Sri Lanka (419 all out and 138 all out) beat Pakistan (422 all out and 114 all out) by 21 runs.