At Galle, June 17-21, 2015. Pakistan won by ten wickets. Toss: Pakistan.
With Pakistan trussed up at 96 for five in response to a serviceable 300, Sri Lanka's worst-case scenario appeared to be a draw, especially as the first day had been lost to rain. But the lower-middle order cut loose and tore the home bowlers to pieces. On a ground that had once been a fortress, Sri Lanka eventually slid to a big defeat, their first at home by Pakistan in nine Tests since April 2006.
Yasir Shah and Asad Shafiq played substantial roles in the heist, but it was Sarfraz Ahmed's combative 96 from 86 balls that really picked the match from Sri Lanka's pockets, quelling Pakistan's crisis with fast hands and even quicker feet. Sarfraz whipped his third ball to the square-leg boundary, and gaps in the field seemed to open up. He was slapping balls through the covers, slashing them behind point, and fiercely sweeping the spinners - all the while flitting around the crease to manipulate the bowlers' lines and lengths. Prasad and Herath, the leaders of this Sri Lankan attack, were handled with particular severity.
After reaching 1,000 Test runs in his 28th innings, a record for a Pakistan wicketkeeper, Sarfraz was bowled by Prasad on the sweep, but he had helped bend Sri Lanka out of shape. Pakistan were still 65 adrift when he was out, but the game's course had been changed. If Sarfraz had been rapacious, Shafiq was restrained, working carefully to consolidate his team's rapid gains, with more help from the tail. He held firm through Herath's long, probing spells, pushed the seamers into spaces when they erred, and left the ambitious shots to his team-mates. His most memorable moment was a lofted drive down the ground to reach his seventh Test hundred, but that was one of only five boundaries in his eventual 131, compiled in six and a quarter hours. Pakistan took the lead while Shafiq had Yasir for company, but it was his ninth-wicket stand of 101 with Zulfiqar Babar that swelled the advantage into three figures. Zulfiqar, who had managed only 50 runs in eight previous Tests, reached a maiden half-century with his second six.
Earlier, once play had finally got under way, Silva struck a patient second Test hundred. Dropped by Yasir at backward point off Wahab Riaz on six, he batted for almost seven and a half hours, but his 125 was by a distance Sri Lanka's most substantial innings of the match; and his stand of 112 with Sangakkara, who made a subdued 50, was their only century partnership.
Sri Lanka's second innings began on the fourth evening. But, as so often at Galle, a spinner sent the match hurtling to a conclusion. Yasir was not just aggressive - giving the ball plenty of air, and achieving dramatic, fast turn - but, for a wrist-spinner, uncommonly accurate. The batsmen attempted to block him at first, perhaps reasoning they no longer stood a chance of winning. But, after he began his charge, they tried to subdue him with some big strokes. Neither plan worked.
On the final day, once Wahab had broken through with the wicket of Thirimanne, Yasir was irresistible. He had removed Sangakkara the previous night, and now hemmed in an inexperienced middle order, teasing out some rash strokes. Three batsmen were stumped - the most in a Sri Lankan Test innings - and two more slogged to leg. Mathews might have been unfortunate to be given out caught at short leg: replays were inconclusive, so Richard Illingworth's original decision stood. Yasir's seven for 76 were the best figures for a visiting bowler in Sri Lanka, beating Shane Warne's seven for 94 for Australia against Pakistan at the P. Sara Oval in 2002-03.
After bundling Sri Lanka out for 206, Pakistan had a session to score 90, which the openers knocked off in 11.2 overs. Mohammad Hafeez was there at the end, although his delight was soon clouded when his bowling action was reported once again.
Man of the Match: Sarfraz Ahmed.