Sri Lanka inflicted an avenging 246-run hammer blow defeat to Pakistan snuffed out for 261 as Babar Azam’s team crumbled to the twin spin attack of Prabath Jayasuriya 5 for 117 and Ramesh Mendis 4 for 101 ran through the touring team’s batting machine in the second test of the World Test Championship at the Galle International Stadium today.
The Lankans swept to a lethal champagne round off to square the series 1-all with the icing on the cake coming by 1.43 p.m. when Ramesh Mendis induced Naseem Shah to swing a teasing delivery straight into the hands of Dulip Wellalage at mid-wicket. The handshakes wrung all around with th Sri Lankan teammates rushing and leaping in the air to celebrate the stunning come back from behind to level the series following the defeat by Pakistan’s successful big chase in the first test. The victory did in many ways evoke memories of a similar comeback in handing out defeat to the mighty Australians who wre leading the World Test Championship points table to evening up in that series too.
The hype to the final day as to whether the Pakistanis would pull off a repeat act evaporated when the skipper Babar Azam who had reached a threatening 81 (146 balls 6×4 1×6) fell to Prabath Jayasuriya’s arm-ball that trapped him plumb leg before wicket that has proved to be his mystic weaponry in outfoxing batsmen. The delivery had the Pakistan captain riddled as it beat him with the movement forcing him to swish across and miss to be rapped on the front pad as three reviews held it was plumb out. The slide was triggered by Mendis with the dismissal of overnight batsman Imam-ul-Haq who was caught behind by Niroshan Dickwella for 49 (6×4 1×6) as Pakistan was reduced to 92 for 2. But Mohammad Rizwan lent good support to his skipper in taking the score to 176. But the Lankans did not let slip seeing his back bowled by Jayasuriya for 37 off 69 inclusive of 6 boundaries. From that point the precipitation set in as Pakistan lost the next 4 wickets in the space of 29 runs with Babar Azam falling with the score 205 to the third delivery of the 66th over.
Batsman Dhananjaya de Silva won the Player of the Match award for his brilliant 109 while Jayasuriya who had a match bag of 8 for 112 was adjudged the Player of the Series.
The victory was crowned by Sri Lankan skipper Dimuth Karunaratne stating post-match that his players had worked hard for it and that when Angelo Mathews fell for 35 he had shrugged off the lower back injury to take the responsibility of shouldering the second innings lending anchor to de Silva.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam conceded it was a tough ask his side had fallen back on.
Sri Lanka 378 And 360/8 decl. (91.5 Overs)
(Dhananjaya de Silva 109 Dimuth Karunaratne 61 Naseem Shah 2/44 Mohammad Nawaz 2/75)
Pakistan 231 And 261 (77 Overs)
(Babar Azam 81 Imam-ul-Haq 49 Mohammad Rizwan 37 Yasir Shah 27 Prabath Jayasuriya 5/117 Ramesh Mendis 4/101)