Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Dubai, 4th day October 29, 2011

Clinical Pakistan complete comprehensive win


Pakistan 403 (Azhar 100, Shafiq 59, Younis 55, Dilshan 3-57) and 94 for 1 (Hafeez 59*) beat Sri Lanka 239 (Sangakkara 78, Ajmal 3-45, Gul 3-78) and 257 (Paranavitana 72, Mathews 52*, Ajmal 5-68) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Pakistan were so clinical in finishing Sri Lanka off on the fourth day that you wondered if this was the same group of players that is known for losing its way in the final furlong. They remained patient and persistent even when fortune didn't favour them or even when a late partnership held them up. The pitch with variable bounce and turn did the rest for them. Pakistan began the day 76 ahead with nine wickets to take, their bowlers shared the early spoils, and then Saeed Ajmal ran through the tail - no mean feat considering their recent travails with lower orders - to register his third five-for in Tests. The fielders turned up too, diving in desperation for every ball remotely within reach and not missing a single catch, and the batsmen made short work of the 94-run target.

Pakistan attacks are reputed to be mercurial and extravagantly talented, but it is an underrated virtue that stood out today - patience. The biggest test of their patience came last afternoon when Kumar Sangakkara and Tharanga Paranavitana enjoyed good fortune with edges not going to hand, and the good deliveries turning out to be too good to take the edges. The bowlers, though, kept it tight and did not go looking for magic balls. The rewards duly came.

They were helped by Sri Lanka's failure to attempt to disrupt their rhythm by hitting out. Some help also came their way from the umpires. Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan fell lbw to decisions you couldn't be sure of, but the balance was restored a bit - so to speak - when Angelo Mathews survived a pretty adjacent call. Mathews went on to delay Pakistan with yet another impersonation of the boy on the burning deck but, as with Paranavitana's fifty, there was no sting in the innings to hurt Pakistan.

The two efforts didn't prove to be the kind of denial that has recently led to Pakistan bowling's wilting. Paranavitana did try to show some intent in the fourth over of the morning when he lofted Abdur Rehman over mid-on for four. Rehman had troubled all left-handed batsmen with his flat trajectory and accuracy, repeatedly hitting the rough outside their off stumps. Soon, though, Paranavitana saw Sangakkara walk back in disgust, and went back into his shell.

Sangakkara's reaction seemed justified. He had taken a big stride in a forward defensive when Rehman got one to turn in extravagantly and hit him half inside the line of off. Even if the umpire Tony Hill adjudicated that Sangakkara was trying to hide his bat behind the pad, the ball turned massively, had a long way to travel, and in all likelihood would have missed leg.

Pakistan now turned the screw tighter. Umar Gul gave Mahela Jayawardene a stern examination with the ball holding its line outside off. Paranavitana hung on grimly against Ajmal's turn. Runs were not even an afterthought. Their partnership added 18 in 11.3 overs. Jaywardene was sent back by a smart bit of bowling from Ajmal. The first big offbreak got Jayawardene trying extra hard to get outside the line of off. To the next delivery, Jayawardene premeditated a paddle from outside off, and Ajmal bowled the quicker offbreak that turns less, and went behind him to knock the leg stump out.

The under-pressure captain Dilshan was outside the crease when a swinging Junaid Khan delivery from round the stumps hit him in front of middle. Again, the ball was moving in and had a considerable distance to travel. In Junaid's next over, though, Mathews padded up to one that hit him just outside off and would have taken off and middle.

Mathews was lucky to survive that, but even though he and Paranavitana defended for their lives, neither got rid of close-in catchers nor did they make the bowlers change their plans. The dangerous wicket-taking delivery with their name on it was lurking around all the time. Paranavitana found his end soon after lunch when Ajmal tossed up an offbreak that finally took a healthy edge and went straight to slip.

To compound Sri Lanka's troubles, the new ball was due then and brought immediate results when Kaushal Silva top-edged Junaid. For a brief period after that Dhammika Prasad took the bowlers on and Pakistan backed off for a while. With Mathews he added 52 at four an over, but Pakistan got the chance to regroup during the tea break.

In the first over after the interval, Rehman cleaned Prasad up with an arm ball. Once again Pakistan had refused to wilt. The tail tried to steal valuable runs in the end, but Ajmal was too good for them. Mathews, who tried to farm the strike but didn't go for the big hits, remained unbeaten.

Misbah, who had made all the correct moves this match, right from the team's selection to the bowling changes, took the lead role in the huddle with what seemed like an impassioned speech. Not sure if he told Mohammad Hafeez he wanted Sunday off, but the opener came out in a positive mood with just 23 overs to go in the day. The ball still misbehaved, but after two fours in the first over and a huge six in Rangana Herath's first over, you knew Hafeez had had enough of this heat. Azhar Ali joined the fun when he lofted Dishan over long-off. All in all, it was a pretty fine way to bring up their first Test win over Sri Lanka in five years, in the anniversary week of their maiden Test victory.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Deleepa on October 31, 2011, 17:34 GMT

    If Lakmal, Welagedara etc the sort of pace unit we are trying to depend then it's a sorry looking side i am afraid. No quality spinners, No good seamers and batting highly unpredictable Sri Lanka is going to be in big big trouble for years to come. I seriously think that Angelo should be Captain and Dilshan should be promoted back up to opening and without the added responsibility he might actually concentrate on his batting alone! On the other hand, Congrads to Pakistan as thier youngsters looks like they are actually hungry to win and play cricket for their country!!

  • sanjaya on October 31, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    Drop Dilshan if he cannt bat as a operner..Drop Paranawithana we dnt need lethargic we need young energetic & agrressive players...Drop Lakmal as he cant bowl cannt bat ...Pls do bring back Prasanna ,Randiv & Chandimal ...atleast we can save the game rather than going for a win ....

  • Salman on October 31, 2011, 5:10 GMT

    I am disappointing to see that the teams losing their talented good players due to IPL through injuries or any other reasons: Chris Gayle Ab Devilliers Malinga Ishant Sharma Keiron Pollard Daniel Vettori Rohit Sharma Yousuf Pathan Irfan Pathan Bret Lee Sehwag etc surely Dilshan is a victim of IPL.. Leagues are killing talent.

  • Vinay on October 30, 2011, 23:37 GMT

    Sri Lanka's best bowler is Mendis and he is not taken for test matches. Pakistan have the most balanced attack in the world with more than one quality spinner although England's is the best in test cricket overall at the moment given that Asif and M Akram remain suspended. Still, Pakistan's attack overall is better than India's, NZ's, WI's or SL's by miles and also better than SA's or Australia's. But their fielding, epsecially their catching, is atrocious and the batting is generally poor although they did well here and it may be on the mend.

  • Sage on October 30, 2011, 20:31 GMT

    Well, I strongly believe it's time for Sri Lanka to bring in the young blood. Sanga has no support. The way Mahela and Dilshan got out is pathetic. I think they both should be dropped for the 3rd teats. Let's see whether selectors or the coach has the guts to drop one of the senior players. Arjuna and Aravinda were dropped so nothing is impossible. I don't think we have the right combination of openers, both being left handers. Beside what are we doing about our bowlers? If you watch the game on TV it showed none of our bowlers come even closer to Pakistan bowlers who have better averages. Pakistan players play so well against all our bowlers. How are we going to improve or on what grounds can it happen? Our next tour will be to South Africa and we are going to get thrashed if we are not going to put up a good team together. Mahela, Dilshan, Tharanga P and even Lahiru will have a time facing the South African pace bowlers.

  • Cricketus on October 30, 2011, 19:35 GMT

    Hopeless batting from Sri-Lanka in this series though they had luxury of batting first in both tests where pitch was as flat as for their liking. Sanga played well in both tests but one man army cant go too far. Sri Lanka need to re-jig their batting and bring back Samaraveera. He is a much better batsman in these conditions then Sanga. When it comes to bowling then they are back to pre-murali era. I do not expetc Sri-Lanka to win but atleast they can save the game. Loosing to this Pakistani team is a real shame.

  • Arsalan on October 30, 2011, 17:34 GMT

    Howevr from the Lankans, this was a terrible match, unfortunately so was the previous one, and the dozen before that too, Sri-Lanka no longer have capability to actually win a match and I see their ranking falling hopelessly, and Pakistan's climbing. They have one or two batsmen in form, in the likes of Sangakkara and Mathews. Sangakkara cannot bat for the team though and Mathews isnt always very great & the rest of their batting is failing them, & its time for Jayawardene to retire, and Dilshan to be dropped as captain, and put Sangakkara back up there. Dilshan is failing horribly at No. 5 and he needs to open while Sri-Lanka need to drop Thrimanne and take Samaraweera back. Any hope they have in Jayawardene and Sangakkara is low and they are veterans who are on the verge of retirement,The Srilankan bowling attack is a sad mockery with barely any capability of taking even 15 wickets, Also Ump.Tony Hill is making WAY too many mistakes and needs to be dropped for the rest of the series

  • Arsalan on October 30, 2011, 17:21 GMT

    Pakistan played the best game , they were the better side, and all their departments are currently working perfectly and their captaincy is also great. Pakistan's bowling is currently good enough to take 20 wickets in a test match without much extraordinary effort, their bowling attack is currently perfectly fit together like a jigsaw, their change of working Rehman into the squad worked perfectly, and his support is helping Saeed Ajmal go along too. The batting was extraordinarily good, in comparison to the few matches played before this series in which Pakistan had a miserly squad and they could barely afford runs. The batting line-up is stable and well structured.And Misbah's captaincy is very much against his critics views, I have to say, by stats and technique he is a much better captain than Afridi the ball eater. Pakistans fielding was much better in the 2nd Test but needs to be vastly consistent and hold their catches in every match, It was a great performance overall.

  • sanjaya on October 30, 2011, 16:15 GMT

    Assume, IPL is going to have a Test League ...Then Malinga will come & play for sure .Dilshan 200 +++ Mahela & Sanga 300+++ ...Malinga will bowl 20-30 overs per day ... Now lot of Sri Lankans are play for money not for the country ...

  • pamaran on October 30, 2011, 15:28 GMT

    congrats to Pak team from an Indian fan... Pak team needs to be strong for excitement in world cricket... good luck for matches against England this winter. Teach them a lesson. btw, srilankan team is over rated in test cricket... they never won anything signficant outside srilanka, even when Murali was around

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