Sri Lanka beats Pakistan by 9 wickets in 2nd test
DUBAI, United Arab Emriates (AP) — Opening batsmen Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva hit half centuries Sunday and drove Sri Lanka to an emphatic 9-wicket victory over Pakistan in the second test to go 1-0 up in the series.
Karunaratne remained unbeaten on 62 while Silva fell for 58 as Sri Lanka reached 137-1 for its biggest win by wickets among the 45 tests played between the two nations.
Resuming at 330-7, fast bowler Suranga Lakmal dashed Pakistan’s hopes of putting up a fight with a career-best 4-78 before Pakistan was bowled out for 359 in an hour on the last day — an overall lead of 136 runs.
Kumar Sangakkara (9) pulled Saeed Ajmal to midwicket boundary and then ran the winning run to finish the match at tea on the last day.
“The bowlers did really well and the batsmen came to the party to set up this win,” Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said.
Sri Lanka’s most experienced batsman Mahela Jayawardene braved the pain in his stitched left hand to score 129 as Sri Lanka established a first innings lead of 223 by scoring 388 in the first innings.
Jayawardene’s clubmate Silva missed his maiden test century but also scored a vital first innings 95 which impressed Mathews.
“The younger guys have performed exceptionally well and Mahela showed his class as well,” Mathews said.
“It was a collective effort, I thought the seamers were brilliant and Herath did a good holding job.”
Karunaratne and Silva played out cautiously and steadily progressed to 35-0 by lunch before they cut loose after the break.
Without injured fast bowler Bilawal Bhatti, who was nursing a hamstring injury and couldn’t bowl in the second innings, Pakistan struggled to get the breakthrough and both batsmen scored freely.
Pakistan came close to separating the two openers but Asad Shafiq couldn’t hold on to Silva’s uppish drive off luckless Ajmal when the batsman was on 24.
Ajmal finally got the consolation wicket when he had Silva leg before wicket with Sri Lanka needing only 13 runs for victory.
“They’ve been playing him (Ajmal) for a long time now and the pitch wasn’t giving too much help,” Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said.
Silva added 124 runs for the opening stand and hit five fours in his 134-ball knock. Karunaratne hit eight boundaries and faced 125 balls in his unbeaten innings.
Pakistan’s tail resisted for an hour and added 29 to its overnight 330-7 before it was bowled out.
Lakmal claimed all three wickets and wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene equaled the Sri Lanka record of nine catches in a test match when he had Rahat Ali caught behind.
Sarfraz Ahmed, 70 overnight, tried to farm the strike but could add only four to his overnight score before Lakmal bowled him in the fourth over of the day off a delivery that swung in and went between the bat and pad.
Ahmed batted for 3 1/2 hours, hitting seven fours in his 142-ball maiden test fifty.
“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,” Misbah said.
“The pitch was flat and we should have scored more than 400 in the second innings.”
Jayawardene equaled Amal Silva’s 1985 record of nine catches against India. Silva achieved the feat twice in the same series.
Lakmal wrapped up the innings by clean bowling Junaid Khan with Ajmal remaining unbeaten on 21.
The first test ended in a draw at Abu Dhabi and the third will be played in Sharjah from Jan. 16.