Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal was a relieved man as Sri Lanka put to an end a terrible losing trend by winning the first Test against Pakistan by 21 runs in Abu Dhabi on Monday (October 2). Sri Lanka arrived in UAE having suffered nine straight losses at the hands of India in the home series and Monday’s win lifted their spirits.
Rangana Herath took his 9th ten-wicket haul in Test cricket and became the first spinner in the world…
“We are over the moon. Everyone has worked really hard and finally our hard work paid off,” Chandimal told journalists.
Veteran spinner Rangana Herath was Man of the Match as he finished with 11 wickets, including six wickets in the second innings. “Rangana is a great team man. He has been an immense support to me and shares his experience with all the other players. The wily old fox is a great asset to the team,” Chandimal added.
Herath will turn 40 next year and Chandimal is aware that he won’t be around for a long time, but wished that was not the case. “He is 39, a little bit old now, but he always tries to do his best. I just hope that he continues throughout my career.”
Sri Lanka were celebrating a 24-run win when Kusal Mendis, at short-leg, caught Yasir Shah, but a few moments later, the umpires had to calm down the Sri Lankan players had Dilruwan Perera had overstepped.
“After we got that wicket, we all started celebrating as we had been waiting for a long time for this win. Then when the third umpire said it was a no ball, everyone was upset, especially Dilruwan. Rangana and I went to him and told him, ‘Don’t worry, there will be more runs, just one ball, and bowl the right areas’.”
Niroshan Dickwella played a crucial role as Sri Lanka resumed from 69 for four in their second innings on day five, and his unbeaten 40 helped the team to set Pakistan a target of 136. The wicketkeeper-batsman posted a career-best 83 in the first innings.
“Dickwella was outstanding in the second innings to get us close to the 140-mark. We all knew the legend Rangana would come into play, and finally he did his best.”
Chandimal thanked the national selection panel, headed by former fast bowler Graeme Labrooy, as they had spoken to the team at length elaborating areas that needed to improve prior to the tour. “Thanks to the selectors as well. Before we came here, they talked to me, and the team, and gave really good confidence. That made a difference and the guys played some outstanding cricket when they were in the middle,” he further said.