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Pakistan clinch emotional Test series against Sri Lanka


KARACHI                –            Three overs on the final day  was all it took for Pakistan to seal a 263-run victory in the second Test against Sri Lanka here at National Stadium on Monday.

It was Pakistan’s first Test victory on home soil in over 13 years; their last victory in Pakistan also came in Karachi, against West Indies in November 2006. Naseem Shah, the 16-year-old, resumed the day on 3/31, and went on to dismiss Lasith Embuldeniya and Vishwa Fernando in his consecutive overs to seal the victory, with Yasir Shah claiming the big wicket of Oshada Fernando, the opener, who finished on 102. The two wickets meant Shah ended with 5/31 – his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket – and with Shaheen Shah Afridi, the 19-year-old, claiming a five-for in the first-innings, the Test has been a good one for the young Pakistani pacemen.

Sri Lanka were in the Test for the first two days. They bundled out Pakistan for 191 in the first innings, and then posted a lead of 80. However, thereafter, it was all Pakistan. Centuries from Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali and Babar Azam helped the home side post 555/3 declared in the second innings, and bogged down by the weight of runs, the Sri Lankan batsmen crumbled. They were reduced to 212/7 by stumps on the fourth day, with Oshada’s century and Niroshan Dickwella’s half-century their only displays of resistance, and on resumption on the fifth morning, they just weren’t allowed to muster a fightback.

“Special thanks to the Sri Lankan team…They probably don’t know how much happiness they have given us by playing here,” Pakistan captain Azhar Ali said after the series-clinching victory. “It’s been a tough year for us as a Test team but coming here, playing at home and playing after a long time, it’s been obviously an emotional moment for us. We had some doubts, how to win a Test match here as we haven’t played Test matches here for a long time. Now we have a decent idea how to win Test match in Pakistan…once we do well at home, we can take confidence to overseas.”

Bowling coach Waqar Younis was elated with the victory but felt hosting the series mattered more. “It’s a very happy moment for the team and for all of us, for the entire country,” the former pace great told Sony Pictures Network. “It’s good that we won but more than that it’s that cricket has come back home. People love cricket…it’s good that they have come in numbers and they’ve shown the world that this is a safe place.”

Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne gave a thumbs-up to the safety and logistical arrangements. “Thanks to the Pakistan Cricket Board, they way they gave us security, it was really outstanding. We’re trying to come back here again,” he said.

The series victory means Pakistan move up to No.3 on the ICC World Test Championship table, with 80 points from their four matches. Sri Lanka are level on points after four matches as well, but are fourth on the table due to their inferior runs-per-wicket ratio.



SRI LANKA 1ST INNINGS: 271 all out



(OVERNIGHT: 212-7):

Dimuth Karunaratne c Rizwan b Abbas 16

Oshada Fernando c Asad b Yasir 102

Kusal Mendis c Babar b Naseem 0

Angelo Mathews c Rizwan b Shaheen 19

Dinesh Chandimal lbw b Naseem 2

Dhananjaya de Silva b Yasir 0

Niroshan Dickwella b Haris 65

Dilruwan Perera c Rizwan b Naseem 5

Lasith Embuldeniya c Rizwan b Naseem 0

Vishwa Fernando lbw b Naseem 0

Lahiru Kumara not out 0

EXTRAS: (lb3) 3

TOTAL: (all out, 62.5 overs) 212

FOW: 1-39, 2-40, 3-70, 4-96, 5-97, 6-201, 7-212, 8-212, 9-212, 10-212.

BOWLING: Shaheen 14-3-51-1; Abbas 12-2-33-1; Naseem 12.5-4-31-5; Yasir 20-3-84-2; Haris 4-0-10-1.

TOSS: Pakistan

UMPIRES: Joel Wilson, Bruce Oxenford

TV UMPIRE: Gregory Brathwaite