Sri Lanka showed great courage and fight to defeat Pakistan by 68 runs in the second test match played at Dubai International Stadium to whitewash the hosts 2-0. It was a great team performance by 1996 World Cup Champions who were dominated during the recent series against a strong Indian team who won 9-0 including 3 test matches, 5 ODI’s and 1 T20I.
It was an outstanding effort by Sri Lanka in the series. In the first test match at Abu Dhabi, Sri Lanka batted first and scored 419 runs. Captain Dinesh Chandimal made 155, Karunanidhi 93, Dickwella 83, Perera 33. In Pakistan first innings, all the batsmen scored runs with Azhar Ali the top scorer with 85. Harris Sohail who was playing his first test match scored 76 and Hasan Ali added 29 important runs to give Pakistan a 3 runs lead.
It was a poor display by Sri Lanka in the second innings who were dismissed for 138. Kaushal Silva made 25 runs and Dickwella added 40 vital runs to help the visitors give a target of 136. Chasing the target of 136, Rangana Hearth and Dilwuran Perera broke the backbone of Pakistan team who were reduced to 36 for 5. Hearth took 5 wickets to help Sri Lanka win the match by 21 runs as Pakistan was dismissed for 114.
In the day-night test match at Dubai, Sri Lanka won an important toss and bat first. Karunanthe played with great control scoring 196 runs, Dinesh Chandimal played a captain’s knock of 62, Dickwella scored 52, Perera made 58 to help the visitor’s post 482. Pakistan was dismissed for 262 in their first innings with only Azhar Ali, Sami Aslam, Harris Sohail, Yasir Shah with contributions.
Sri Lanka got a lead of 220. Their second innings was poor as they were dismissed for 96. Pakistan was given a target of 317, the top order again failed before Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed gave some hope. On the fifth day, Sarfraz Ahmed was dismissed for 68 while Shafiq scored a century. Pakistan was dismissed for 248. Sri Lanka won the match by 68 runs.
From 2010, Pakistan has been playing their home cricket in UAE. They had a proud test record before this test series against Sri Lanka; they played 9 test series, winning 5 and drawing 3. This was the first time that Sarfraz Ahmed is captaining Pakistan in a test series after Misbah-UL- Haq and Younis Khan retired.
Pakistan drew against South Africa 0-0 in 2 match test series during 2010/11 and then drew against South Africa 1-1 in 2 match test series during 2013/14 season, drew against Sri Lanka in 3 match test series 1-1 during 2013/14. Their wins came against Sri Lanka (1-0) in 2011/12, whitewashing England (3-0) in 2011/12, 2-0 against Australia in 2014/15, again England 2-0 in 3 match test series, in 2015/16 and beating West Indies 2-1 last year.
With this test series win, Sri Lanka has jumped past Pakistan to number 6th in latest ICC test rankings. It will take time for Pakistan to play well without their great players.