Images courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Karunaratne and Silva both scored half-centuries
Sri Lanka’s opening pair of Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva both scored half-centuries to help their side cruise past Pakistan by nine wickets on the fifth and final day of the second Test in Dubai.
Karunaratne and Silva were well supported by pace bowler Suranga Lakmal, who ripped through Pakistan’s lower order with three quick wickets early on in the day.
Starting out the day on 330/7, Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed and spinner Saeed Ajmal only managed to add four runs onto their 18-run partnership before Ahmed was clean bowled by Lakmal for 74 off 142 balls, which included seven boundaries.
Rahat Ali only managed to make eight runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Lakmal.
Lakmal struck again in his very next over as he cleaned up Ajmal for 21.
Pakistan were bowled out for 359, which meant that Sri Lanka only needed 137 runs to win.
Lakmal was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers with four wickets, while Nuwan Pradeep, Rangana Herath and Shaminda Eranga all snapped up two wickets apiece.
With a target of 137 standing between them and taking a 1-0 lead in the series, Sri Lanka got off to an excellent start as their Karunaratne and Silva put together a 124-run partnership before Silva was given out lbw off the bowling of Ajmal.
Silva reviewed the decision immediately, but the replays showed that the ball was pitching in line and going on to hit leg stump, which led to the third umpire upholding the original decision.
Silva’s fantastic knock of 58 came off 134 balls and included five boundaries.
From that point on, it was all Sri Lanka as Karunaratne and Kumar Sangakkara amassed an unbeaten 13-run partnership to lead the national team across the finish line.
Karunaratne finished on 62 off 125 balls, which included eight boundaries, while Sangakkara remained undefeated on nine off 20 deliveries, which included one boundary.
Ajmal was the only bowler to pick up a wicket.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq was disappointed with his side’s performance, and said: “Kaushal Silva was very good and disciplined. He played the seamers very well, left balls outside off and he did very well against Saeed Ajmal as well. They’ve been playing him for a long time now and the pitch wasn’t giving too much help. Both spinners struggled.
“We need a bit of time, the youngsters need to learn to do their basics right especially in Tests and try and wait for the bad ball and that’s what they did better. The lower order did really well, Sarfraz and Bhatti’s innings was very crucial. The pitch was flat and we should have scored more than 400 in the second innings.”
Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews was pleased to have taken a 1-0 lead heading into the third and final Test in Sharjah.
“That’s the beauty of Test cricket, we have to keep fighting despite the situation,” he said. “The bowlers did really well and the batsmen came to the party to set up this win.
“The younger guys have performed exceptionally well and Mahela showed his class as well. I’m very happy for him. [On how he has grown as a player since the Abu Dhabi Test] I’m still learning, day by day with the help of the seniors and the team-mates. It’s wonderful to have them and perform day in day out. It was a collective effort, I thought the seamers were brilliant and Herath did a good holding job so it was a very good effort.”
Sri Lanka batsman Mahela Jayawardene was named Man of the Match for his sparkling century in the first innings.
“Had a bad thing, had an operation there so hoped nothing serious had happened,” he said. “Obviously the hand dictated the way I batted and the match situation as well, but the bowlers did really well to limit the Pakistan batting. Had to make sure I adjusted and I bated through the innings. Once you bat through there was runs for the taking and runs on the board is crucial in the first innings.
“Hats off to Kaushal Silva as well, he played really well. It’s good to play with this bunch of boys and we have one more Test to go so hope we do well in Sharjah as well.”