Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Galle
GALLE: Leg-spinner Yasir Shah spun Pakistan to a comprehensive ten-wicket win over Sri Lanka with career best figures of seven for 76 on the fifth and final day of the first Test played at the Galle International Stadium on Sunday.
Sri Lanka were dismissed for 206 in their second innings at the tea break leaving Pakistan the entire final session to chase 90 for victory. They required only 47 minutes of it to score the runs without loss with openers Mohammad Hafeez (46) and Ahmed Shehzad (43) using up 11.2 overs to get there and give Pakistan a one-nil lead in the three-match series.
The win was Pakistan’s first in Sri Lanka since 2006 and their first at Galle since 2000.
With the first day being washed out without a ball bowled, and the Test reduced to a four-day affair the prospects pointed to a draw with both sides possessing strong batting line ups. But to Pakistan’s credit it must be said that they fought back brilliantly from a hopeless position to come back and secure an amazing victory.
The turning point of the match was the sixth wicket century stand between man-of-the-match Sarfraz Ahmed and Asad Shafiq that put the pressure back on Sri Lanka. The home side had the Pakistanis in trouble at 96-5 in reply to their first innings total of 300. But Pakistan fought back from that position to take a 117-run lead that left Sri Lanka to bat out the remaining three and a half sessions. In the circumstances there were only two results possible – a draw or a win for Pakistan.
That Pakistan was able to pull off victory was largely due to the excellent bowling by Pakistan especially Yasir Shah who found bounce and turn on a pitch that was still good enough for batting to end with a match bag of nine for 155. The Lankan batters were found wanting and many of them simply threw away their wickets which was largely disappointing.
Coach Marvan Atapattu said the situation was ideal for the younger players to step up to the plate and perform and show what they are capable of. In this instance however they failed miserably, unable to take on the responsibility and perform under pressure.
The second Test starts at the P Sara Oval in Colombo on June 25.
SRI LANKA 1ST INNINGS 300
PAKISTAN 1ST INNINGS 417
SRI LANKA 2ND INNINGS
K Silva c Azhar b Riaz 5
D Karunaratne st Sarfraz b Yasir 79
K Sangakkara c Azhar b Yasir 18
D Perera b Yasir 0
L Thirimanne c Younis b Riaz 44
A Mathews c Azhar b Yasir 5
D Chandimal st Sarfraz b Yasir 38
K Vithanage c Babar b Yasir 1
D Prasad c Sarfraz b Babar 2
R Herath c Hafeez b Yasir 1
N Pradeep not out 0
Extras (b-5, lb-1, nb-1, w-6) 13
Total (all out, 77.1 overs) 206
Fall of wickets: 1-18 (Silva), 2-63 (Sangakkara), 3-63 (Perera), 4-132 (Thirimanne), 5-144 (Mathews), 6-167 (Karunaratne), 7-175 (Vithanage), 8-200 (Prasad), 9-203 (Herath), 10-206 (Chandimal).
Bowling: Riaz 16-4-46-2 (w6), Junaid 7-1-23-0, Yasir 30.1-6-76-7 (nb1), Hafeez 10-3-24-0, Babar 14-4-31-1.
PAKISTAN 2ND INNINGS
Mohammad Hafeez not out 46
Ahmed Shehzad not out 43
Extras (b-3) 3
Total (no loss, 11.2 overs) 92
Bowling: Herath 4.2-0-30-0, Prasad 2-1-10-0, Pradeep 2-0-18-0, Perera 3-0-31-0.