Herath drives Sri Lanka to thrilling win in Abu Dhabi

Herath drives Sri Lanka to thrilling win in Abu Dhabi

The veteran left-arm spinner took 6-43 - 11-136 in the match - to scupper Pakistan, set a modest 136-run target, for just 114 on a tired fifth day Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch.

"I have no idea how long he is going to play, but I am sure he will do what he can for the team".

Niroshan Dickwella remained defiant, however, and when Pakistan's batsmen then hit nearly immediate trouble it became clear the Sri Lanka wicketkeeper's unbeaten 40 could well be significant.

After another impressive batting performance, Yasir Shah lifted Pakistan to the driver's seat, dismissing two Sri Lankan top order batsman towards the end of Day 4 of the 1st Test at Abu Dhabi last evening. I've played almost 20 Tests, maybe that's why. Following the lavish home thrashings suffered at India's hands, Sri Lanka were desperate for a victory to win their public back.

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.

It was also a first defeat for Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in 10 Tests.

Well, for the 39-year-old, he achieved a milestone with his last wicket of Mohammad Abbas - it was his 400th Test wicket - 14th bowler to breach the feat and fifth spinner after fellow countryman Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Aussie legend Shane Warne (708) and Indian spin duo of Anil Kumble (619) and Harbhajan Singh (417). Herath now has 400 wickets to his name from 84 Test matches.

With the ball taking spin on a hard Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch, Pakistani batsmen struggled against veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath (2-19) and off-spinner Dilruwan Perera (2-25).




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. New Pakistan Test captain Sarfraz Ahmed completed the run-out. If a result appeared out of the question at that point, it appeared all but certain once the Sri Lankans had crumbled to 138 all out in their second innings.

Then came the stand that, perhaps, changed the course of this Test: 50 runs added for Pakistan's ninth wicket gave this Test the direction that over 750 runs scored in the match previously couldn't give.

- This is also Sri Lanka's smallest margin of win.

"[Niroshan] Dickwella was outstanding in the second innings to get us to the 140 mark".

Herath took 23 wickets against Pakistan in 2014 - a world record in a two-match series - and he said he had no clue why he was continually so successful against the nation.

Sarfraz: Win and loss - it's always a part of the game, but we should have won this match.

"I did not know the wicket would be this flat".

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