Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Pallekele, 5th day July 12, 2012

Sri Lanka take series after aborted chase


Pakistan 226 (Shafiq 75, Misbah 40, Perera 4-63) and 380 for 8 dec (Ali 136, Shafiq 100*) drew with Sri Lanka 337 (Paranavitana 75, Perera 75, Junaid 5-70) and 195 for 4 (Sangakkara 74*, Chandimal 65, Ajmal 3-50)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A placid track on the fifth day provided Sri Lanka an ideal chance of pushing for victory by chasing down 270 in the allotted 71 overs, a result that looked a strong possibility after an aggressive start led by Dinesh Chandimal. But his dismissal at the stroke of tea slowed down the innings considerably and, despite a fluent Kumar Sangakkara at one end, Sri Lanka's focus turned to securing their 1-0 lead. The change in approach squeezed the excitement out of the chase, but succeeded in ensuring Pakistan lost a Test series for the first time since that ill-fated tour of England in 2010. It was also Sri Lanka's first Test series win in nine attempts since August 2009, and the first after the retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan.

Misbah-ul-Haq declared immediately after Asad Shafiq reached his second Test century prior to the lunch break. Shafiq added an unbeaten 81 with Adnan Akmal, who batted bravely with a broken finger to keep Sri Lanka at bay for more than 28 overs. In their defence of a target of 270, an all-out attack led by Junaid Khan was Pakistan's big hope of levelling the series, but with the pitch a contrast to days one and three, it was the batsmen who dictated the flow of the game.

When they came in for the chase, Sri Lanka had the option of batting out time instead of pushing for a win, given their series lead, but Chandimal's naturally positive approach delivered a promising start. Junaid and Umar Gul got a hint of movement with the new ball, and there were plays and misses. Tharanga Paranavitana reached out to a couple of wide deliveries, while Chandimal, against a round-the-wicket line from Junaid, was squared up by the away-going ball. His tendency to initially shuffle across and fall over gave Junaid a healthy chance of an lbw dismissal, but Chandimal middled the ball well. He slashed Gul through point, drove him down the ground and pulled him through square leg, all in the over before lunch.

Chandimal was largely cautious against spin, preferring to see off both Mohammad Hafeez and Saeed Ajmal, who only got the odd ball to turn, but was quick to seize on opportunities presented by the seamers. Despite the presence of a deep point, Junaid was thrashed twice through the cover region, also prompting the bowler to go back to bowling over the wicket. As the field spread out, he pulled short deliveries towards deep square leg, drove past mid-off and ensured a steady flow of singles and twos. Sangakkara gave him solid company in an 88-run stand.

Sangakkara joined Chandimal after the opening pair had added 44 at more than four an over. On a pair, he got going quickly, cracking an incoming delivery from Junaid through extra cover and cutting him past point. Fumbles, byes, overthrows, and singles were in supply, and Sri Lanka were going along smoothly, but Chandimal was keen to press on. After he'd launched Ajmal over mid-off for four, he tried repeated that feat in the over before tea, but failed to clear Shafiq, who held on to a sharp catch.

Even though Mahela Jayawardene fell playing a paddle-sweep, an attempt at improvisation, he'd consumed 43 balls before his dismissal. The first nine overs after tea yielded just 12 runs, that sense of urgency on show before lunch having disappeared. Sangakkara whipped Junaid for a couple of boundaries through midwicket, but any signs of the chase being revived proved deceptive.

The arrival of Thilan Samaraweera with 123 needed in 23.2 overs, ahead of power-hitters in Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera, was the first reality check. His struggles against the doosra continued until he was bowled by Ajmal after facing 20 balls. His dismissal was followed by three consecutive maidens, consigning the game to a draw. The chase was called off nine overs short of the scheduled close.

Shafiq's assured century before lunch had given Pakistan a fighting chance. Sri Lanka failed to pick up a wicket with the opposition eight down, and an injured player batting at one end. Had they looked to close the innings early, targeting both batsmen instead of just Akmal, they would have had a better chance of forcing a result in their favour. But they employed spread fields to Shafiq, who batted calmly in the company of Akmal, who proved more than capable of surviving.

After the first hour of the day, a message came out from the dressing room to step it up and Akmal played the reverse-sweep for four, while Shafiq slog-swept Rangana Herath for four more. Amid a spate of singles through square leg, midwicket and on the off side, Shafiq also struck Perera through long-off and deep extra cover, before getting a top-edge to the fine-leg boundary. He brought up three-figures half an hour before lunch. At tea, Sri Lanka were favourites. But their priorities changed after that.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • stephan on July 15, 2012, 17:17 GMT

    Sry guys got mixed up like a doofus between the first and second bad..

  • stephan on July 15, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    Firstly congrats to the SL team on a well deserved series win...PAK started strong in the first test with a huge score but the fact that SL were able to draw that test was in my humble opinion a big turning point...@ EL_TORO_LOCO:Can you name any other team that has won a world cup at home apart from India???Oh wait a minute there was umm, well ahh...Hum and then there was ..Ah..Wait, what!?...Thats right, no team has managed it, so India was successful in achieving a very rare not achieved by any one before plz dont post comments for the sake of posting them...sorry guys i realize this is a SL VS PAK thread but comments like this really get my goat...@ Sinhaya: By reading the comments in his posts,it can safely be concluded that @sobersfan is infact a PAK fan...

  • Prashan on July 15, 2012, 13:32 GMT

    @sobersfan, Sri Lanka are a good test team and that is why England are hosting us for the 2014 and 2016 summer, check the FTP. Anti Lankans like you will get shocked of course. Sri Lankan batting is far superior to Pakistan and no one can deny that. Why is Sangakkara ranked no 1 in tests today? Sangakkara will soon be the fastest to get 10,000 test runs. I believe you are from Windies as per your name. I adore Windies a lot and always support them for a fact no matter how much you dislike Sri Lanka. I am glad Windies have won the ODIs 3-1 at last. Hope Windies win the tests against NZ 2-0.

  • Prashan on July 15, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    @sobersfan, an anti Lankan like you will never give any credit to Sri Lanka. Mahela opted not to chase mainly to ensure we won the series. Mahea, Thilan, Prasanna, Dilshan all have test tons away from home including at green tops. Look at their stats please. When did South Africa win a test series in Sri Lanka? Sri Lankans can play on green tops and that was why Dilshan scored 193 at Lords, Prasanna score a ton at Cardiff and Thilan Samaraweera scored consecutive test tons in Durban and Cape Town. Admit that is the truth! No way can Pakistan destroy us as we managed to hold them to 1-0 in UAE and remember in the Sharjah test, rain saved Pakistan!

  • adithya on July 15, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    @sinhaya,sl was lucky to win this series,next time pak will destroy sl.if ur sl batsmen are so great then why they were not able to chase the score on flat tracks.other than sangakara there is no sl batsmen play well outside subcontinent.mahela scored all his runs at colombo ssc and the current sl batsmen can't play in green never won a test series in eng,sa,aus,wi,ind and this their first series win after three years.

  • Prashan on July 14, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    @sobersfan, Sri Lanka were the clear winners in the first test and no one could stop us winning. I know you cant fathom defeat but Sri Lanka excelled in both the tests and ODIs undoubtedly. Galle and Pallekelle were not dead pitches. Our batsmen are good in any condition and that is why they have scored test tons in all countries. Sangakkara is one of the greatest batsmen of all. We have beaten Pakistan in 6 tests before this in Pakistan so nothing can stop us from beating them at home. Sangakkara has a 182 in Australia, a double ton in Abu Dhabi, a double ton in Pakistan, a test tons in England and South Africa which clearly proves his class. Thilan Samaraweera is excellent in fast pitches and that was why he scored 2 consecutive tons in South Africa a few months ago. You are totally wrong.

  • adithya on July 14, 2012, 10:24 GMT

    the man of the series should be umpires.pak was unlucky in 1st test and that led to this series keep preparing dead pitches because ur batsmen performs well only in flat pitches.

  • Cricket on July 13, 2012, 15:44 GMT

    In the just concluded series Junaid Khan was getting 5-fers, also the Sr Lankan pacers were getting wickets, only Mr.Umar Gul was getting hammered. Same was the case even in the England series in UAE. Why is Gul's position in the team a given? . How long will Gul enjoy like this? Since the last two years Gul has played each and every match across all formats, including Bangladesh and yet his average is consistently deteriorating. How much more time do the selectors want to dump him ?

  • Cricket on July 13, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    Posted by hani2 on (July 12 2012, 17:03 PM GMT) :- I agree that Mr.Gul is taking his position in the team for granted. He never performs. Always gets hammered against better opponents, Hardly gets any wickets, his average is going from bad to worst. Gul's present average is 33/wicket couple of years back it was 31.xx . In the same period playing on the same pitches Junaid Khan has produced an avg of 27/wicket. In the just concluded SL series Junaids avg was 21. Ajmal is also maintaining an avg of around 27 on the same pitches.

  • Dummy4 on July 13, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    Congratulations to team SriLanka on the series victory against Pakistan. Hats off to their disciplined performance in all the departments of the game. In the batting department Pakistan team traditionally is always a slow starter. By the time they are up to speed, they are already close to loosing the series. They have chronic weakness of dealing with swing fast bowling and short pitch bowling. If the pitch condition is bad, then Pakistan batting line up go back into shell and can not take even a single and can not rotate the strike. As far as fielding is concern, nothing can be said about it except it is the worst side in the world. Bowling is considered to be strong point of our strength. Historically our strength was the fast bowling but now see how good we are in fast bowling, rather I can say, it is our weakness. We are banking now on our spin bowling only. We need different type of team selection for Test, ODI and T20 and their Captains.

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