Herath spins Sri Lanka to victory as hosts collapse - Taipei Times
Tue, Oct 03, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Herath spins Sri Lanka to victory as hosts collapse


Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir, right, is bowled by Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath on the fifth and final day of the first Test in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, yesterday.

Photo: AP

Rangana Herath yesterday became the second Sri Lanka player to bag 400 wickets as a six-wicket haul steered his side to a thrilling 21-run win over Pakistan in the first Test 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 weary fifth day Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch.

The victory was achieved when Herath trapped last man Mohammad Abbas leg before wicket for a duck to give Sri Lanka a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

Herath, a long-time nemesis of Pakistan, also completed 100 wickets in 20 Tests against them, during an innings in which only debutant Haris Sohail fought with some resolve for his 34 runs.

Herath became the 14th bowler in all Test cricket and the fifth spinner behind his fellow countryman Muttiah Muralitharan, Australia’s Shane Warne and India duo Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh to reach the 400-wicket milestone.

The 136 set Pakistan was Sri Lanka’s lowest defended target, improving on the 168 they set Pakistan in the Galle Test in 2009.

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

Earlier, leg-spinner Yasir Shah took 5-51 — his 32nd five-wicket haul in Tests — to dismiss Sri Lanka for 138 in their second innings.

Niroshan Dickwella ensured Sri Lanka had something to defend with a pugnacious 40.

The second Test — a day-night match — starts in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Friday.



If Bangladesh’s batsmen found the going tough in the first Test, they can expect it to be even more difficult in the second match if South African captain Faf du Plessis gets his way.

“I’m on the groundsman’s case,” Du Plessis said yesterday after South Africa bowled out Bangladesh for 90 to complete a crushing 333-run win on the fifth and final day of the first Test at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom.

Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada took 3-33 and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj 4-25 as the tourists lost their final seven wickets for 41 runs in less than an hour and a half.

“I was really disappointed with the conditions. They were not what we asked for,” said Du Plessis, who praised the performance of his bowlers on a pitch which he described as a “flattie.”

Du Plessis said he expected the pitch for the second Test, starting in Bloemfontein on Friday, to be more helpful to South Africa’s fast bowlers.

“Hopefully, there will be a bit more grass on the pitch in Bloemfontein,” he said. “I am expecting more bounce and carry.”

Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim admitted his team had missed an opportunity to be more competitive on a pitch which some observers felt was more akin to conditions in the Asian sub-continent than those usually found in South Africa.

Rahim astonished most commentators when he sent South Africa in after winning the toss.

The hosts piled up 496-3 declared, with man-of-the-match Dean Elgar making 199, new cap Aiden Markram 97 and Hashim Amla 137.

Bangladesh were never in the game after that, despite good half-centuries from Mominul Haque and Mahmudullah in a first-innings total of 320.

Rahim said he “probably” would bat if he had the chance again, but said his bowlers had let the team down in the first innings.

“I did not know the wicket would be this flat. It was a flat track, but they didn’t put the ball in the right areas,” Rahim said. “I can’t remember the last time we were bowled out for less than 100. We didn’t show our character or our fighting abilities.”

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