Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Dubai, 5th day January 12, 2014

Clinical Sri Lanka take 1-0 lead


Sri Lanka 388 (Mahela 129, Silva 95, Junaid 3-102) and 137 for 1 (Karunaratne 62*, Silva 58) beat Pakistan 165 (Manzoor 73, Pradeep 3-62, Herath 3-26) and 359 (Misbah 97, Younis 77, Sarfraz 74, Lakmal 4-78) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Fernando: Sarfraz wicket was crucial blow

It had rained for most of the night in Dubai and the floodlights were switched on to brighten a gloomy morning, but there were no alarms for Sri Lanka once play began on time on the fifth day. They won this Test of attrition by bowling clinically to polish off the Pakistan tail, and then their openers guarded against any slip-ups in a chase of 137 by playing watchfully and taking liberties only after the contest had been killed. The weather was Sri Lanka's only concern, as clouds gathered and dispersed through the day, but there was not a drop of rain and the winning runs were scored in sunshine.

The nine-wicket victory vindicated Angelo Mathews' unprecedented decision at the toss - he was the only captain to want to bowl first in six Tests at this venue. It also added weight to the argument for batting second in Dubai: teams that did so have won four out of six matches. The pitch had been at its best for the bowlers on day one, when Sri Lanka's attack used the considerable seam movement and bounce on offer to dismiss Pakistan for 165 and lay the groundwork for success. Over the next few days, the surface flattened out and got slower, and taking wickets called for hard toil.

Sri Lanka had only three second-innings wickets to take on the final morning, but Pakistan's lead was 107 and had Sarfraz Ahmed replicated his resistance of the fourth evening, the chase could have got tricky. Suranga Lakmal ensured they were not frustrated, taking the remaining wickets to achieve career-best figures and dismiss Pakistan for 359.

Sarfraz, who had scored his maiden Test fifty, could add only four to his overnight score of 70. Lakmal bowled him with a delivery that reverse-swung sharply from far outside off stump to find the gap between bat and pad. Saeed Ajmal and Rahat Ali added 20 runs for the ninth wicket, but Lakmal soon got a delivery to seam away from Rahat and the batsman's poke outside off resulted in an outside edge. Prasanna Jayawardene claimed his ninth dismissal of the match - equalling Amal Silva's Sri Lankan record.

The end came early in the second hour of the day, when Lakmal swung a yorker on to Ajmal's boot and on to the stumps. Ajmal hobbled off in pain and did not take the field at the start of Sri Lanka's chase.

By the time Ajmal came on to bowl in the 12th over of the chase, Sri Lanka's openers had added 23 runs. Pakistan opened with the offspinner Mohammad Hafeez and Junaid Khan, and they began the defence with three consecutive maidens. Dimuth Karunaratne then cut and drove Hafeez for two boundaries in three balls, and drove Rahat fluently down the ground. Between those shots, he and Kaushal Silva blocked solidly.

There were few alarms for the openers in the short period before lunch but Sri Lanka's run rate was just above two an over and, as clouds gathered, rain was their foremost problem. The second - and final - session of the day, however, began under clearing skies.

A few deliveries from Junaid Khan kept low but the slowness of the surface allowed the batsmen to play with without problems. Silva charged and hit Ajmal to long-on and pulled Junaid to deep midwicket to bring up the 50-partnership in 20.2 overs. Pakistan could have broken it minutes later but Asad Shafiq put Silva down at cover, off Ajmal.

Silva scored his second fifty of the Test and Karunaratne brought up the third of his career, and their 124-run partnership was the first century stand between Sri Lanka's openers since June 2011. Their raw openers had completed what their raw seamers had started on day one. It was Sri Lanka's first away win since December 2011 and their first away win against Pakistan since October 2004.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Prashan on January 14, 2014, 11:10 GMT

    To all Pakistan fans, is nt Usman Salahuddin a good replacement for Shezhad? Surely his first class batting average is 45 plus and is better than that of Shan Masood! To be a specialist batsman in tests, must have a domestic batting average of at least 40. I have no idea how did Shan Masood get a test match chance instead of Salahuddin after having a poor domestic batting average.

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    Folks, Sri Lanka played better than Pakistan did; and therefore deserved to win. Also, enough already with all these calls for dropping Asad Shafiq. Does the guy have to perform miracles in each and every match to stay in the team? He scored well in the series just prior to this one, against the world's number one team! In the first test he scored 54, and scored 130 odd runs in the second. After Misbah, he is the only batsman who's been performing consistently, and you want to ruin his career? Hafeez has basically been failing in tests for a very long time, I don't see that many calls for dropping him. Why the double standard?

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2014, 6:20 GMT

    Sri Lanka played better in all departments. Kudos to them. BRAVO. As for Pakistan. You sow what you reap. Why is ABDUL HAFEEZ back in the test team? Where are FAWAD ALAM and HARIS SOHAIL?

  • Prashan on January 14, 2014, 5:04 GMT

    @Yousufahmed11, I fully agree. I think Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson too must come.

  • Manoj on January 14, 2014, 3:44 GMT

    My Test XI for 2013/2014: Amla Taylor Misbah Sangakkara Clarke deVilliers Kallis Ajmal Harris Philander Steyn

  • Buddhika on January 14, 2014, 2:51 GMT

    Actually Test Cricket is Seniors game. SL young batsmen much better than Seniors in this format means in T20 we don't want any Seniors at all.Only keep them in Test and ODIS if performs only. There are lot of good T20 batsmen in SL than Seniors like Mahela,Sanga and Dil. So they should retire after 2014 T20 WC. @ColomboAndroid Thanks mate. at least you understand reality.

  • Sanka on January 14, 2014, 0:38 GMT

    @ VKohlitheGreat: May be Lankans got the help of the pitch, and Pakistan lost because of that. But, did you hear any excuses from either team for their losses during the tour (other than pointing at their own mistakes), blaming the pitch? Or may be the weather? It's high time you turn your attention where it's due.

  • ESPN on January 13, 2014, 21:58 GMT

    The root cause of the problem is MISBAH as a captain He should play as a middle order batsman Get rid of Hafeez , Asad, Khurrum, Shahzad, Rahat and Bilawal Javed

  • Dummy4 on January 13, 2014, 18:18 GMT

    Where the Hell is Umer Gul the most Experienced & Lethal Weapon of Paksitan in all formats as he showed his form in odis. Bring Rehman in for bhatti & Gul for rahat.

  • manjula on January 13, 2014, 16:15 GMT

    It was combinations: SL openers and the bowling trios made the difference for SL. The trio and Hearth had high intensity and provided an amicable combination. After a long time, there is a good pair at the top. Both openers earned their way by playing in domestic well. Three bowlers were well disciplined. Mathews also as a Captain did well on his part.