Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Pallekele
PALLEKELE: Younis Khan may have missed out scoring a century on his 100th Test appearance at the P Sara Oval but he made up for his poor form throughout the series with a marathon match-winning effort scoring a monumental 171 not out to steer Pakistan to a series clinching seven-wicket win on the final day of the third and final Test against Sri Lanka at the Pallekele International Stadium.
The target of 377 was the biggest successful run chase Pakistan ever had achieved in their history beating the 315-9 against Australia at Karachi in 1994.
It is also the highest ever total achieved in a successful fourth innings run chase in Sri Lanka surpassing 352-9 by Sri Lanka against South Africa at the P Sara Oval in 2006.
The series win by 2-1 was Pakistan’s first in Sri Lanka since 2009.
The architects of the famous run chase were Younis Khan and Shan Masood who figured in a third wicket stand of 242 off 400 balls after Sri Lanka had captured two early wickets for 13 runs.
Their stand shut out Sri Lanka completely from staging a comeback into the game and so it proved when after Masood’s dismissal at 125, Younis continued another fine partnership with his captain Misbah-ul-Haq that carried Pakistan to victory 36 minutes after lunch on the fifth and final day. They put together an unbroken stand of 127 off 177 balls with Misbah finishing the match in style with a six off part-timer Jehan Mubarak that also brought up his first half-century of the series.
It was strange coincidence that Pakistan’s two experienced hands should make use of an occasion like the final innings of the series to go past the 50-run mark for the first time. Younis’ highest score before today’s match-winning innings was 47 and Misbah’s was 22.
Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews rung the bowling changes as best as he could but the pitch eventually defeated him and his team. As it was the pitch had lost its sting and life it produced on the first three days of the Test and panned out into an easy paced one that made batting easy. There was hardly any movement for the seamers and only turn for spinner Tharindu Kaushal who did not make the best use of it, apparently due to inexperience.
Younis was named the Man of the Match and leg-spinner Yasir Shah took the Man of the Series award with 24 wickets in the series.
The two teams will now meet in a five-match one-day international series starting at Dambulla on July 11.
SRI LANKA 1ST INNINGS 278
PAKISTAN 1ST INNINGS 215
SRI LANKA 2ND INNINGS 313
PAKISTAN 2ND INNINGS
Shan Masood st Chandimal b Kaushal 125
Ahmed Shehzad b Lakmal 0
Azhar Ali c Chandimal b Prasad 5
Younis Khan not out 171
Misbah-ul-Haq not out 59
Extras (b-5, lb-10, nb-5, w-2) 22
Total (3 wickets, 103.1 overs) 382
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Shehzad), 2-13 (Azhar), 3-255 (Masood).
Bowling: Prasad 20-2-65-1 (w1, nb1), Lakmal 19-5-48-1 (nb3), Pradeep 17-3-51-0 (w1), Mathews 13-2-34-0 (nb1), Kaushal 31-1-153-1, Mubarak 3.1-0-16-0.