Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st Test, Galle, 5th day August 10, 2014

SL beat rain to win after Herath's six

198

Sri Lanka 533 for 9 dec (Sangakkara 221, Mathews 91, Ajmal 5-166) and 99 for 3 beat Pakistan 451 (Younis 177, Shafiq 75, Perera 5-137) and 180 (Sarfraz 52*, Herath 6-48) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Arnold: Mathews made a great declaration

Rangana Herath conjured six wickets on a day-five pitch that carried little threat and Sri Lanka hunted down 99 in a dramatic chase under the constant threat of rain and fading light. A big, dark cloud hung over the ground as Sri Lanka closed in but relented just long enough for Angelo Mathews to swat an unbeaten 25 off 13 and drag his side home with under five overs remaining. Just after Mathews tapped Junaid Khan to midwicket for a nearly suicidal, winning single, the skies opened up.

Pakistan's loss was the 12th by a side that had posted 450-plus batting first, as they tried to block their way to safety in the morning and found Herath all over them. They lost three wickets for 62 runs in 32 overs in the first session, and even though they tried being more positive after lunch, Sri Lanka pried out four more by tea. Sarfraz Ahmed counter-attacked with an unbeaten fifty but he was stranded as Herath spun out the tail to leave Sri Lanka 21 overs to get 99.

Mahela Jayawardene walked out to open in his last Test innings in Galle and took Sri Lanka to 59 before the sight of the cloud made him make too much room outside leg and miss an accurate Junaid Khan yorker on 26. Kumar Sangakkara swung his way to 21 off 22 before he holed out to long-on as Sri Lanka's desperation grew and Pakistan fretted over the falling visibility. It was left to captain Mathews to slog a couple of sixes into a wildly cheering crowd to beat the rain.

Pakistan's downfall began in the morning when their young batsmen were reluctant to score after Dhammika Prasad had ended the nightwatchman Saeed Ajmal's resistance in the sixth over of the day. Ahmed Shehzad made 16 off 74 and was around with the equally sedate Azhar Ali for 93 balls, but the partnership fetched Pakistan merely 28. Even half-volleys were patted away regularly and the spinners were allowed to settle into their rhythms. The occasional attempts to rotate the strike were rushed and tense. Azhar stepped out at times, but went to lunch on 18 off 89.

Herath and Dilruwan Perera were relentless, even with no uneven bounce available and no exaggerated turn or bounce. Perera, a classical offspinner who has no doosra, used his straighter one superbly from both sides of the wicket, leaving the batsmen unsure about which ones would turn. He beat Azhar with a straighter one and Shehzad on the drive with a flighted offbreak.

The batsmen started shuffling further and further across in doubt and umpire Ian Gould gave Shehzad leg-before as he missed an offbreak. Shehzad conferred with Azhar and walked back without reviewing, only to face an incredulous Moin Khan and Waqar Younis in the dressing room, as replays showed the ball would have turned past leg stump.

Realising that some runs were dearly needed, Younis Khan drove Perera for four through extra cover first ball, and was way more positive in defence as well as attack than the preceding batsmen.

Herath had been taken off after constantly teasing the batsmen with his flight and arm balls, and was brought back ten minutes before lunch. Younis walked out to the second delivery and smothered it. The third one he pushed forward to, playing for spin, but it was the arm ball and slipped through the gate.

Misbah-ul-Haq calmly lofted Herath for a straight four off the last ball of that over. Pakistan showed more intent after lunch even as the spinners tried to target the rough outside leg. Both Azhar and Misbah resorted to sweeps, and the latter reviewed umpire Bruce Oxenford's lbw decision successfully on 8 off Perera, replays showing the batsman had gloved the ball on to pad.

A few overs later, Misbah slog-swept Perera for six over midwicket and reverse-swept the next ball for four. The partnership grew to 56, and the calming presence of Misbah seemed to have steadied Pakistan from the tremors of the morning.

Sri Lanka struck twice in the space of three balls to deliver bigger jolts to Pakistan. Azhar got his second jaffa of the match from Herath that spun across to take the edge behind on the forward push. Two balls later, Misbah missed a whip off the back foot against Perera, and it was Sri Lanka's turn to review successfully now for leg-before.

Asad Shafiq failed to read Herath's arm ball again but Sarfraz fought with aggression. Sarfraz came into the Test with a batting average of 18.58 but added fifties in each innings. His approach to spin was in sharp contrast to that of some of his batting colleagues. As the overs remaining kept dwindling, Sarfraz kept walking out, whipping, cutting, driving and sweeping Pakistan's lead towards 100. Amid all this, he even managed to farm the strike with Mohammad Talha for a while before Herath had his way again.

The previous Test between these sides in Sharjah had Pakistan chasing 302 in quick time. This wasn't as big a pursuit, but it made up on the drama front.

Abhishek Purohit is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • espncricinfomobile on August 12, 2014, 23:29 GMT

    People should not come to conclusion about Pak. This is a team that cannot even play at home. Hardly plays long test series against top sides. Still manages to do better than 2 of the BIG 3

  • Urajapakse on August 12, 2014, 18:40 GMT

    Ha, ha,

    Who said we cannot win test matches after Great Murali's retirement?

    Rangana has fitted in nicely & doing the same that great man did. Who would have thought prior to 1981 that ' Cricketers in this LITTLE ISLAND can do wonders like this. REMEMBER 1996 UNDER ARJUNA, JUST WAIT FOR 2015 WC- WILL SHOW THE WORLD AGAIN WHAT WE ARE(OUR CRICKETERS) CAPABLE OF.

    Hats off to Anji & the team

  • android_user on August 12, 2014, 16:23 GMT

    @sinhaya please don't even try to compare herath with dilruwan , yes dilruwan is a good bowler but has to come a long way to become as good has herath.he kept this average after playing 56 games not 6 and after murali he helped sri lanka to achieve lot of things on his own even In odi and t20 so please don't compare a true legend with a new comer.

  • fazald on August 12, 2014, 2:32 GMT

    This Sri Lanka test team is totally dependent on their big three batsmen Sangakkara, Jayawardena and their captain Mathews. Then there's Herath who plays the leading role as their number one wicket taker. The team relies heavily on these three batsmen who consistently score runs and whenever they are in trouble atlleast one of them puts up a big score and comes to the rescue of the side. If they all fail at the sametime that's when they lose the game. Which is very rare these days Sangakkara guides the team at the top of the batting order and the rest of the batsmen supports him down the order. With Jayawardena announcing his retirement from test cricket at the end of this series against Pakistan and Sangakkara to follow in the not too distant future the void created by their loss would would be hard to fill.

  • android_user on August 12, 2014, 2:30 GMT

    @sinhaya don't look at averages while judging a player. Chandimal is lot better player even though his average might not be good. Srilanka have 3 class players unfortunately others are not quiet good

  • Sinhaya on August 12, 2014, 0:41 GMT

    @Siddharth Mane, well 20 overs was lost due to rain in that test match, so that helped SA.

    Not only Herath, but Dilruwan Perera is better than Herath as his test bowling average is better than Herath and is below 29! Dont forget rock hard Kaushal Silva too along with debut half centurian Dickwella along with Vithanage who averages over 40. Vithanage and Dickwella had to slog in this game and throw their wickets due to the need to get runs as 50 overs was lost due to rain.

  • Kinguru007. on August 11, 2014, 20:08 GMT

    With all due respect Mr.Gaurav given the current status of IND and S.L i don't see much of a different. Of cause AUS and SA on a different level. You should of said this after the 5th test in England.

  • dummy4fb on August 11, 2014, 15:59 GMT

    SL is a good side but can't beat India, SA & Australia on SL turf.

  • Zetta on August 11, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    I happened to watch only the first and last day of the match, but it was worth it. Sri Lanka are very steadily progressing as a test side. So much that I fear their limited over form will decrease. Well, we'll see ~

    I can't imagine what would happen with Pakistan's batting if there were no Misbah-ul-Haq in the middle. Not concretely this match, overall.

    But it was an exiting cricket match and we should all be happy that Test cricket is very much alive. Let's hope the next one would be interesting just as much. Cheers from Bulgaria!

  • Dayanperera on August 11, 2014, 13:32 GMT

    In hindsight, we could say that PAK should have been more positive on the 5th day. But the match was set up by the end of 4th day. even that I thought SL was a bit too slow in setting up a bigger lead and declaring a bit earlier. but that's me being to ambitious. overall please don't take anything away from the lankans, I do not see much wrong that PAK did, but this is a well deserved win. Its time to realize that when SL wins its not because the opposition was bad but because we are one of the best teams now.