Rangana Herath skittled Pakistan with his left-arm spin to hand Sri Lanka a dramatic 50-run victory in the first cricket Test in Galle yesterday.
Herath grabbed 4-15 as Pakistan, chasing a modest target of 168, collapsed from a seemingly impregnable 71-2 to 117 all out in their second innings before lunch on the fourth day.
Fast bowler Thilan Thushara and spinner Ajantha Mendis chipped in with two wickets each as a jittery Pakistan lost their last eight batsmen for 46 runs.
The brilliant win gave Sri Lanka a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series, the first between the two nations since gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in the Pakistani city of Lahore on March 3.
The attack injured seven Sri Lankan players and killed eight local security men, prompting the sport’s governing body to move 2011 World Cup matches out of Pakistan.
Pakistan, who beat Sri Lanka in the World Twenty20 final in London last month, now have four days to ponder the loss before the second Test starts at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo on Sunday.
Herath, who replaced the injured Muttiah Muralitharan for this match, struck twice in the day’s second over when he removed the overnight pair of Mohammad Yousuf and Salman Butt in the space of four deliveries.
Yousuf, century-maker in the first innings, was given out leg-before as he padded up to a straight ball from the left-armer that was headed for middle stump.
Left-handed Butt, who looked in good touch while making 28 on Monday, appeared to lose concentration after Yousuf’s departure and pulled Herath high to Tharanga Paranavitana at deep square-leg.
Sri Lanka earned another success in the next over when Shoaib Malik edged left-arm seamer Thushara to wicket-keeper Tillakaratne Dilshan before he had scored.
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Pakistan found themselves in a deeper hole as Thushara, who exploited the early freshness in the wicket with lively pace, trapped Kamran Akmal leg-before for six.
The tourists’ were soon reduced to 85-7 when Misbah (7) stepped out of the crease after taking a Thushara delivery on his pads and an agile Dilshan threw down the wicket to run out the batsman.
Ten runs later, Ajantha Mendis claimed his second wicket of the innings when he bowled Umar Gul for nine.
Herath brought up the sensational win by having Abdur Rauf snapped up at first slip by former captain Mahela Jayawardene.