Pakistan crush Sri Lanka to win Karachi Test
Karachi, March 15: Pakistan crushed Sri Lanka by 222 runs with a day to spare to win the third cricket Test here at the National Stadium on Wednesday. Sri Lanka, who clinched the series 2-1, found themselves hapless against the charged-up Pakistanis and were dismissed in just 46 overs while scoring 228 in pursuit of a record 451-run victory target.
Earlier, Pakistan were bowled out for 421 after resuming their second innings on Wednesday morning at 375 for seven.
Pakistan's excellent and convincing victory not only helped them to boost their morale after a spate of losses but also maintain their remarkable 45-year unbeaten record at the National Stadium. They now have 17 victories and 17 draws.
The victory also ended a five-match win drought after being whitewashed in Australia and then losing back-to-back Tests to Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi and Peshawar.
The combination of coach Javed Miandad and skipper Moin Khan turned the fortunes of Pakistan cricket. The team which looked disjointed in the last five months, is gradually regrouping into a winning unit.
The batsmen occupied the crease and put decent score on the board which helped the bowlers to fire on all cylinders without fearing that they had to defend a small total besides taking wickets.
The fielders backed their bowlers by holding catches and in the meantime producing three run-outs, including two in Sri Lanka's second innings, which speaks of their agility and alertness.
The star performer of the penultimate day's play was speedster Waqar Younis who bowled at a sizzling pace to virtually break the back of the Sri Lankan batting. He utilized all his experience when he produced speed and swing from the pitch which looked to have eased down.
It was after a long time when Waqar was seen in full cry. He seemed to have regained his customary rhythm of old. The way he shattered Russel Arnold's confidence, after trapping Sanath Jayasuriya with an inswinger which deceived the left-hander, was in a class of his own.
In his sixth over, Waqar mixed his deliveries with inswingers and short-pitched stuff before delivering an almost unplayable outswinger from the spot when the batsmen hate. Russel could do nothing but edge it and Moin Khan did the rest by grabbing a fine catch just in front of Inzamam-ul-Haq in the first slip.
The crucial wicket which all but ended Sri Lanka's hopes of stretching the match into the final day was of anchorman Marvan Atapattu who perished behind the wickets by playing a reckless shot off a wild delivery from Mohammad Akram.
Atapattu's dismissal opened gates for Pakistan from both the ends and though Romesh Kaluwitharana and Ravindra Pushpakumara scored 33 and 44 runs respectively, it was just a delay of the inevitable.
While Waqar finished as the most impressive bowler with two for 32, while Shahid Afridipicking up three wickets conceding 50 runs. Shahid now has 10 wickets here in two matches, besides a half century.
Earlier, Pakistan added 46 runs in 60 minutes to prosper to 421. Moin Khan was the first man out when he holed out to Pramodiya Wickremasinghe off Pushpakumara who finished with four for66. Moin's 105-ball 70 spiced seven boundaries.
He was associated in a 88-run eighth wicket partnership with Waqar Younis who clobbered four fours and a six before falling to Muttiah Muralitharan for the fifth time in the series.
The spin king ended up with four for 107 to take his tally of wickets to 26 which earned him the Man-of-the-Series award. Waqar, for his 13 wickets, edge out Inzamam-ul-Haq with 355 runs to bag the Man-of-the-Series award from Pakistan. Inzamam, however, had the satisfaction of being adjudged Man-of-the-Match.