It was as if the story of the first Test was replayed with a slight change in personnel. Where it was Dinesh Chandimal with the bat in Abu Dhabi, Dimuth Karunaratne led the way in Dubai. While Rangana Herath was the major destructor with the ball in the first game, Dilruwan Perera stood up in the next one.
Chandimal and his men had already pulled off a stunning victory in the first Test but who would have thought they will stand out once again to inflict a clean sweep. For the first time ever, Pakistan lost a Test series in the UAE and against the most unlikely team Sri Lanka that had suffered a beating at the hands of India last month.
The class of Karunaratne
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat yet again. The opener Dimuth Karunaratne played a wonderful knock and laid the foundation for a big score. He was involved in 5 big partnerships and finally lost his wicket in the 134th over at the team’s score of 429. The left-hander narrowly missed out on a double hundred and got out for 196.
Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella and Dilruwan Perera scored half-centuries to propel the side to a massive 482. The Pakistani bowlers toiled hard and most of them didn’t find much success. The leg-spinner Yasir Shah took 6 wickets but conceded 184 runs from 55.5 overs.
Innings that didn’t flourish
The Pakistani innings began well when Shan Masood and Sami Aslam added 61 runs for the first wicket but after the departure of the former, the wickets fell in a cluster. After a few overs, the hosts found themselves struggling at 109/4. Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail stitched together a stand of 71 and brought the hopes of a fightback.
Both scored their individual fifties but once the duo was dismissed, the lower-order didn’t have much to offer. The innings ended at 262 as Sri Lanka gained a lead of 220 runs with Herath and Perera bagging 3 wickets each. Despite having an opportunity to enforce a follow-on, the visitors elected not to go for it.
A short-lived second stay
Sri Lanka were hoping to extend their lead to give the opposition a substantial target. But just like the first Test, the batsmen failed to score big in the second innings. An inspiring spell from Wahab Riaz triggered a collapse and the Lankans were bowled out for just 96 from 26 overs. Riaz picked up 4 wickets while Sohail took 3 in a single over.
Despite a mediocre second innings, Sri Lanka gave Pakistan a stiff target of 317 which was not going to be easy to chase down in the fourth innings. The chase got off to a poor start as Perera along with the pacers sent half the Pakistani side back in the hut for just 52.
Shafiq-Sarfaraz’s fight went in vain
All was going downhill for the hosts but Asad Shafiq and the skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed brought caution to the winds. The duo went on the counter-attack and frustrated the Lankans. Gradually, they brought their side back in the game with a solid partnership. What seemed like a match finishing on the day 4, was pushed to the last day by the 2 right-handers.
On the final day, both the sides were in with a chance but Sri Lanka finally struck when Perera sent back Sarfaraz for 68 as a magnificent stand of 173 ended. Shafiq went on to notch up his hundred but rest of the wickets fell in quick succession and Sri Lanka ended up winning the match by 68 runs and clinched the series 2-0. With the victory, they moved to No.6 in the rankings and exchanged places with Pakistan.
Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat first
Sri Lanka 1st innings: 482/10 in 159.2 overs
Dimuth Karunaratne 196, Dinesh Chandimal 62
Yasir Shah 184/6, Mohammad Abbas 100/2
Pakistan 1st innings: 262/10 in 90.3 overs
Azhar Ali 59, Haris Sohail 56
Dilruwan Perera 72/3, Rangana Herath 84/3
Sri Lanka 2nd innings: 96/10 in 26 overs
Kusal Mendis 29, Niroshan Dickwella 21
Wahab Riaz 41/4, Haris Sohail 1/3
Pakistan 2nd innings: 248/10 in 90.2 overs
Asad Shafiq 112, Sarfaraz Ahmed 68
Dilruwan Perera 98/5, Rangana Herath 57/2
Sri Lanka won by 68 runs
Player of the Match: Dimuth Karunaratne
Player of the Series: Dimuth Karunaratne