Herath drives Sri Lanka to thrilling win in Abu Dhabi against Pakistan


The only one of these spells to be delivered by Rangana Herath 1.0 - before his 2009 renaissance - and the only one to have come in Pakistan, it was the carrom ball that was Herath's primary weapon as he bowled Sri Lanka to victory.

Sri Lankan cricket captain Dinesh Chandimal.

Chasing a target of 136, Pakistan never got going and the combination of Herath and off-spinner Dilruwan Perera took advantage of a tired and sluggish fifth-day pitch to send the hosts packing for the just 114 runs.

Yasir was the pick of the bowlers with five wickets, while Abbas snapped up two and Hasan Ali, Asad Shafiq and debutant Haris Sohail chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Sri Lanka resumed the day at 69 for four, having a lead of 66 runs.

Pakistan were 121-2 at lunch and went through the afternoon session without conceding a wicket to go to tea at 194-2.

If Bangladesh's batsmen found the going tough in the first Test, they can expect it to be even more hard in the second match if South African captain Faf du Plessis gets his way.

"Magician" Rangana Herath spun a web around batsmen to inflict Pakistan's first loss at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in the UAE Capital. Yet, we can hardly take our eyes off him when he bats.

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The 21-run win in the nail-biting contest steered Sri Lanka to lead the two-match series 1-0. By end of the 18th over Pakistan had lost half their side for 35 runs.

Earlier, Pakistan in response to Sri Lanka's 419 scored 422 in their first innings.

Dickwella made the most of his reprieve and went on to hit the day's sole six as he ended unbeaten on 42.

Pakistan made a steady start in reply though, Shan Masood (30no) and Sami Aslam (31no) batting through the final 23 overs of the day to guide their side to 64-0 at stumps.

Analysing the causes for the defeat, Sarfraz Ahmed said:"This is part of the game but I'm very disappointed because we had recovered really well in this game". Our batsmen played well but they didn't play long innings. Dickwella was unbelievable in the second innings, he got us to the 140 mark. The technology returned a verdict of "umpire's call", which no longer sees the unsuccessful team lose one of their two reviews per innings.

"We knew once we got that much, we have our legend (Herath) here".

For the home side to clinch the Test, they perhaps need Sarfraz to play a substantial knock. I was so happy with the remarkable achievement (400 wickets). There was some assistance from the surface.