By Srian Obeyesekere
Pakistan swept to a 4-wicket win over Sri Lanka inside of an hour on the fifth and final day of the first test to go 1-up in the 2-Test series at the Galle International Stadium. Overnight opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq remained unbeaten on 50 off 84 hitting 4 boundaries and a six.
For once, Sri Lanka’s spin magician Prabath Jayasuriya, who had bowled Sri Lanka to victory over foreign teams in reaching a record of 39 wickets at Galle from six appearances, was eluded of repeating it at what had been his happy hunting grounds as Pakistan went on the offensive.
The Pakistan skipper fell for 24 reaching the boundary four more times to the one yesterday in making his intent clear. When he departed with the score 79 trapped leg before wicket by Prabath Jayasuriya, Pakistan had good as made it with Imam-ul-Haq at the top of his game in the company of first innings double century hero Saud Shakeel adding 43 off 55 balls for the fifth wicket. When Shakeel departed for a quick fire 30 off 38 packed with 6 boundaries, edging Mendis behind at 122 for 5 it was just a formality despite losing a sixth wicket that of Sarafraz Ahmed four short of the target with Imam-ul-Haq in total control of the situation with another first innings spade worker Agha Salman joining him for the winning hit.
The win was significant for Pakistan in breaking exactly a one-year winless hoodoo having last won as well in Galle, their toast of course being Player of the Match Saud Shakeel who made it possible.
Sri Lanka 312 (95.2 Overs)
(Dhananjaya de Silva 122, Angelo Mathews 64, Sadeera Samarawickrama 36, Dimuth Karunaratne 29, Vishwa Fernando not out 21, Abrar Ahmed 3/68, Shaheen Shah Afridi 3/86, Naseem Shah 3/90, Agha Salman 1/18)
And 279 (83.1 Overs)
(Dhananjaya de Silva 82, Nishan Madushka 52, Dimuth Karunaratne 18, Dinesh Chandimal 28, Ramesh Mendis 42, Sadeera Samarawickrama 11, Prabath Jayasuriya 10, Abrar Ahmed 3/68, Noman Ali 3/75, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2/64)
Pakistan 461 (121.2 Overs)
(Saud Shakeel n.o. 208, Agha Salman 83, Noman Ali 25, Abrar Ahmed 10, Shan Masood 39, Sarfaraz Ahmed 17, Babar Azam 13, Ramesh Mendis 5/136, Prabath Jayasuriya 3/145, Vishwa Fernando 1/69, Kasun Rajitha 1/77)
And 133/6 (32.5 Overs)
(Imam-ul-Haq n.o. 50, Babar Azam 24, Saud Shakeel 30, Agha Salman n.o. 1, Prabath Jayasuriya 4/56, Ramesh Mendis 1/62)