Rangana Herath took his 9th ten-wicket haul in Test cricket and became the first spinner in the world to take 400 Test wickets as Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 21 runs in the first Test match in Abu Dhabi.
Herath, the oldest current Test player ended up with match figures of 11 for 136 as Pakistan were bowled out for 114 in 47.4 overs, chasing a target of 136 for victory. Herath also became the first bowler to get 100 wickets against Pakistan as Sri Lanka inflicted the first Test defeat for Pakistan in Abu Dhabi to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Pakistan had slumped to 36 for 5 before Haris Sohail and Sarfraz Ahmed lent some solidity with a 42-run partnership that brought the game back on even keel. But, once Herath snared one past Sarfraz and Dilruwan Perera trapped Sohail lbw for 34, it was always going to be tough for the home side.
Herath was almost denied a chance to get to 400, with Dilruwan appearing to have Yasir Shah caught in the 47th over, only for replays to show that the bowler had over-stepped. Herath ensured that would be the last bit of drama in a Test full of it, trapping Mohammad Abbas plumb in front for a duck to spark celebrations in the Sri Lankan camp as the veteran spinner ended up with 6 for 43 in the 2nd innings.
With the ball taking spin on a difficult Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch, Herath dismissed Sami Aslam for two before accounting for Asad Shafiq, who made a fighting 20. Perera then had Shan Masood and a shaky Babar Azam for three to leave Pakistan struggling in hot and humid condition in the UAE. In between, Suranga Lakmal had Azhar Ali caught behind for a duck.
Earlier, leg-spinner Yasir Shah took 5 for 51 to rattle Sri Lanka for 138 in their second innings. Sri Lanka, who resumed on 69 for 4, lost their last six wickets for 69 runs. Niroshan Dickwella fought hard during his unbeaten knock of 40 studded with four boundaries.
Right-arm seamer Mohammed Abbas dismissed Kusal Mendis and Suranga Lakmal (13), the night watchman, in his first spell before Shah took three wickets to further hit the Sri Lankans. Hasan Ali, the fast bowler, removed the Nuwan Pradeep, the last man, after the umpires had delayed lunch with the ninth wicket falling just at the stroke of the interval. Hasan finished with 1 for 21.
The interplay of emotions, the tension and all those twists and turns added up to make it a compelling game of cricket after the first four days were slow and lethargic.
Man of the Match – Rangana Herath