Herath spins Sri Lanka to a memorable 21-run victory

Rangana Herath produced a memorable performance with the ball to see Sri Lanka clinch an improbable win over Pakistan in the first Test played at Abu Dhabi. This is first ever loss for Pakistan at the Abu Dhabi. Herath also achieved a unique milestone as he picked up 100th wicket against Pakistan and also became the left-arm spinner to take 400 wickets in the history of Test cricket.

It was riveting contest as Herath and Lakmal made early inroads to see Pakistan placed in precarious position in the game. Yasir Shah and Mohammad Amir showed resistance with the bat. Herath appealed for a catch against Yasir Shah but review went in vain as third umpire saw no edge on the bat. Amir struck boundaries to keep Sri Lanka on their toes.

Pakistan required 27 runs to win the game while Sri Lanka were two wickets away from clinching a surprised win. Herath dismissed Amir with Pakistan losing their nine wickets. Dilruwan Perera thought he had Yasir Shah dismissed but the decision was over-turned as the off-spinner had stepped over the line. The game came down to the wire as Abu Dhabi witnessed a thriller despite low attendance. Herath trapped Mohammad Abbas right in front see his team-mates spark off wild celebrations.

The 39-year old became the oldest player to take 400 wickets in Test cricket and became the first left-arm spinner to do so in Test cricket. Sri Lanka has remarkably turned things around after getting whitewashed across three formats against India playing at home. The visitors have taken 1-0 lead in the two-match series as the next one will be played be a day-night affair in Dubai.

Pakistan lost their openers while a chasing a paltry score of 136 runs set by Sri Lanka. Asad Shafiq and Sarfaraz Ahmed reached double figures while the rest perished in quick succession to see the side fold for 114 runs to see Sri Lanka win the game by 21 runs. Sarfaraz and co will rue the fact that pitch on the last day was not minefield that are witnessed in India these days. They did well to score 422 runs in first innings followed a spirited performance by Yasir Shah saw them only needed 130-odd runs to win the game.

Sri Lanka batted in their first innings courtesy of a brilliant 155 runs produced by Captain Dinesh Chandimal. In reply, Pakistan young guns in Shan Masood, Haris Sohail and Sami Aslam did well to see the side score 422 runs and take a slender in the Test match. At one time, it looked that game would certainly could to result in a tame draw with the surface hardly providing any sort of assistance for the bowlers.

Yasir Shah’s late spell on Day 4 turn things around as pitch started provide some assistance as Sri Lanka could only manage 138 runs in their second innings. It proved to be enough as Herath decimated Pakistan’s batting lineup to see Sri Lanka pull off a memorable win against all odds.

Sri Lanka will be pleased with their performance while Pakistan will be keen to draw level as second game of the series will be played from 6th October.

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