DUBAI: Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera starred with a five-wicket haul as Sri Lanka scored a landmark 68-run victory on Tuesday to end Pakistan’s record of never having lost a Test series in the United Arab Emirates.
The gulf country has been Pakistan’s home away from home since 2010, but the hosts couldn’t overhaul Sri Lanka, who had already won the first Test by 21 runs in Abu Dhabi, twice on the final days of both Tests.
Resuming at 198-5 in pursuit of 317-run target in the second and final Test at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Pakistan were blown away in 17.2 overs of play after Asad Shafiq scored a valiant 112, the diminutive right-hander’s 11th Test hundred.
Sarfraz Ahmed scored a fighting 68, but when Dilruwan Perera induced a top edge of the Pakistan captain’s mistimed sweep and broke the 173-run stand with Asad, Pakistan lost their last five wickets for 23 runs.
Perera ended up with figures of 5-98.
Pakistan had won five of the previous nine, with four drawn in the UAE, their adopted home since 2010 after being forced to play in the neutral venues following the deadly terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009.
This is also Pakistan’s first home defeat since losing to South Africa 1-0 in 2007, a series held on their grounds, and only the second whitewash in their history.
They previously suffered a 3-0 defeat against Australia, a series also played at neutral venues in Colombo and UAE in 2002. Asad was the ninth man out when he edged paceman Suranga Lakmal to slip where Kusal Mendis took a low diving catch to end all Pakistan’s hopes of an upset win.
Asad’s 253-minute knock had 10 boundaries but he again failed to help Pakistan cross the line, just like his 137 in the lost cause against Australia at Brisbane last year.
Pakistan had looked to the overnight partnership of Asad and Sarfraz to guide them to the winning target as they needed another 119 for victory.
Both Asad and Sarfraz had lucky escapes but Perera finally broke the resistance when the Pakistan was superbly caught at deep square leg by Nuwan Pradeep.
Sarfraz hit five boundaries during his 130-ball knock.
Shafiq brought up his hundred with a paddled sweep single off Perera and was reprieved on the same score when Dimuth Karunaratne dropped a low catch of the same bowler.
Perera then completed his five-wicket haul when he trapped Mohammad Amir — unable to bowl in the second innings with a shin injury — leg before for four, bringing Sri Lanka within three wickets of victory.
Yasir Shah was cleaned up by Herath while the victory was brought up when Herath had number 10 Wahab Riaz caught gleefully by Chandimal for one.
Sri Lanka had gained a decisive 220-run lead by scoring 482 in the first innings on the back of Karunaratne’s career best 196 and then bowled Pakistan out for 262.
Pakistan, ranked No 1 a year ago, will drop to No 7, below Sri Lanka, who began the series as the underdogs after being swept 9-0 by India.
The teams begin a five-match One-day International series, starting on Friday. That will be followed by three Twenty20s, with the last T20 scheduled to be played at Lahore.
SRI LANKA (1st Innings) 482 (F.D.M. Karunaratne 196; L.D. Chandimal 62, M.K.D. Perera 58, N. Dickwella 52; Yasir Shah 6-184).
PAKISTAN (1st Innings) 262 (Azhar Ali 59, Haris Sohail 56; M.K.D. Perera 3-72, H.M.K.R.B. Herath 3-84).
SRI LANKA (2nd Innings) 96 (B.K.G. Mendis 29; Wahab Riaz 4-41, Haris Sohail 3-1).
PAKISTAN (2nd Innings, overnight 198-5):
Shan Masood c Dickwella b Perera 21
Sami Aslam c Mendis b Gamage 1
Azhar Ali c Silva b Pradeep 17
Haris Sohail c Dickwella b Perera 10
Asad Shafiq c Mendis b Lakmal 112
Babar Azam c Silva b Perera 0
Sarfraz Ahmed c Pradeep b Perera 68
Mohammad Amir lbw b Perera 4
Yasir Shah st Dickwella b Herath 5
Wahab Riaz c Chandimal b Herath 1
Mohammad Abbas not out 3
EXTRAS (LB-1, NB-5) 6
TOTAL (all out, 90.2 overs) 248
FALL OF WKTS: 1-5, 2-36, 3-49, 4-52, 5-52, 6-225, 7-230, 8-244, 9-244.
BOWLING: Lakmal 14-4-35-1; Gamage 16-5-29-1 (3nb); Herath 22.2-3-57-2; Pradeep 11-3-21-1 (1nb); Perera 26-1-98-5; Mendis 1-0-7-0 (1nb).
RESULT: Sri Lanka won by 68 runs to win two-match series 2-0.
UMPIRES: R.A. Kettleborough (England) and N.J. Llong (England).
TV UMPIRE: S. Ravi (India).
MATCH REFEREE: A.J. Pycroft (Zimbabwe).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Dimuth Karunaratne.
MAN-OF-THE-SERIES: Dimuth Karunaratne.
FIRST TEST: Abu Dhabi, Sri Lanka won by 21 runs.
Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2017