|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Games||Mobile|
The Report by Siddarth Ravindran
November 7, 2011
Sri Lanka 413 (Sangakkara 144, Dilshan 92, Ajmal 4-132) and 181 for 6 dec (Paranavitana 76*, Sangakkara 51) drew with Pakistan 340 (Younis Khan 122, Misbah 89, Azhar 53, Welegedara 5-87) and 87 for 4
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Pakistan extended their impressive run in Test cricket since the spot-fixing scandal deprived them of three first-choice players, securing a series win over Sri Lanka on a rare rain-hit day in Sharjah. Fittingly, Misbah-ul Haq, the man who took over as captain and provided a backbone to a team that was in disarray last year, remained unbeaten to ensure there were no implosions and confirm the draw.
The result extends Sri Lanka's winless streak to 14 Tests, again highlighting their struggle to come to terms with the loss of Muttiah Muralitharan. They betrayed a lack of killer instinct by batting on the final day of this must-win Test, despite a three-hour rain delay. They were 237 ahead by stumps on the fourth day, a sufficiently large lead in a match where the run-rate had been around two-and-a-half over the first four days, but they weren't confident enough to declare at the start of play when 67.2 overs remained. Instead of going all out for a victory, they inexplicably batted out four overs before calling an end to their innings.
Pakistan needed a high-octane start if they were to make a serious tilt at the target of 255 in 61 overs. Their openers began briskly, with Mohammad Hafeez slashing a couple of fours past point early on. Pakistan were 20 for 0 midway through the fifth over, but their momentum was taken away by a direct hit from substitute Lahiru Thirimanne at midwicket, which caught Hafeez short.
Taufeeq Umar and the usually watchful Azhar Ali decided to shut shop, and Pakistan focused on playing out the overs for a draw. With the Sri Lanka spinners getting some turn, Pakistan scratched out six runs in an 11-over spell. Rangana Herath and Suraj Randiv kept the batsmen on a leash, and Sri Lanka employed a clutch of close-in fielders as they hunted for quick wickets.
Sri Lanka's strikes came from contrasting deliveries. A ripper from Herath accounted for Azhar, trapped lbw after the ball drifted in before curling sharply away, while Younis Khan was dismissed by a pedestrian length delivery that he punched to the mid-on fielder.
Still, Taufeeq firmly resisted and Misbah showed off his defensive mastery once again to drain Sri Lanka's hopes. Their 15-over blockade nearly put the match to bed, but Sri Lanka perked up when Taufeeq irresponsibly slapped a short Randiv ball to Kumar Sangakkara at point. The spinners persevered and should have had another breakthrough when Asad Shafiq nicked to the keeper but the umpire failed to spot it.
It was comfortable for Pakistan in the end, with Shafiq and Misbah stonewalling 16 overs in the fading light. Misbah even shared a light-hearted moment with Sangakkara as the match wound down, jokingly imitating a left-hand batsman. With Pakistan winning their first series over a better-ranked team since they beat India at home in 2005-06, Misbah could well afford to smile.
|Comments have now been closed for this article
Sreesanth wasn't the most likeable team-mate or opponent, but he had skill beyond doubt, which we might have seen the last of
Even at the height of his success with the national side, Sreesanth was a lonely cricketer who felt hard done by
Plays of the day from the IPL match between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals in Mumbai
Out of the shattered lives of three young men caught up in allegations of fraud, newer and stronger players must emerge
Mumbai Indians still have a better head-to-head record against Chennai Super Kings, but once again on the big occasion, they came second
None of the other three England bowlers with 300 Test wickets - or many other of the game's finest swing merchants - could have bowled better than James Anderson at Lord's
Royal Challengers began the season in full steam, but failed to replicate their consistency away from home
The eight-over dash between Bangalore and Chennai was as close as cricket played on the field can get to cricket played on smartphone apps
Safe & simple online money transfer. Apply Now!
Available now at Cricshop