Sri Lanka 419/10 (Dinesh Chandimal 155*; Mohammad Abbas 3-75) & 138/10 (Niroshan Dickwella 40*; Yasir Shah 5-51)
Pakistan 422/10 (Azhar Ali 85, Haris Sohail 76; Rangana Herath 5-93) & 114/10 (Haris Sohail 34; Rangana Herath 6-43)
Sri Lanka won by 21 runs
Man of the match: Rangana Herath
After four relatively glum days in Abu Dhabi, the first test between Subcontinent giants Pakistan & Sri Lanka suddenly burst into life with the visitors winning by a slim 21-run margin. It was the spin twins Rangana Herath & Dilruwan Perera who defended a mere target of 136 set by the Lankan batsmen. Herath became the first ever left-arm spinner to get 400 wickets in test cricket.
In the first innings, Sri Lanka posted a fearsome total of 419, thanks to a brilliant 155 from skipper Dinesh Chandimal. Pakistan looked set for a giant first innings lead with Azhar li & Haris Sohail scoring half centuries but Hearth pulled them back with a fifer, restricting the lead to just three runs.
In Sri Lanka’s second innings, it was time for Herath’s ‘spin rival’ from the opposition side, Yasir Shah who also took 5 wickets. Sri Lanka could only conjure up a total of 136 runs. With Pakistan looking set for an easy win, the biggest drama of the test was yet to be staged.
The Lankans came out all guns blazing, picking up scalps left, right & center. At one stage, Pakistan were down to 36 for 5 but a partnership of 42 from Sarafarz & Sohail started to show some hope for the home side. But it was once again the spin that brought about Pakistan’s downfall, with Hearth picking up Sarafarz & Perera dismissing Sohail. But there was still some drama left. With Pakistan reeling at 114 for 9, Perera picked up Mohammad Abbas. While the Lankans were busy celebrating, the third umpire judged Perera for bowling a no-ball, something he hadn’t in his first 14 tests.
But Chandimal’s men weren’t to be denied. Fittingly, it was Hearth who completed a historic win, trapping Abbas plum in front. As the Sri Lankans celebrated joyously, Abbas & Yasir stood in the middle, probably contemplating on what might have been…