DUBAI: Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera finished with five wickets to help Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 68 runs in the second Test in Dubai yesterday and take the series 2-0. Perera had figures of 5-98 as Pakistan, chasing a tough 317 to win, were bowled out for 248 in the second hour of fifth and final day at Dubai stadium. Asad Shafiq fought hard during his 112-run knock-his 11th Test hundred — and together with his skipper Sarfraz Ahmed (68) added 173 for the sixth wicket. But once their partnership was broken Sri Lanka, having already won the first Test by 21 runs in Abu Dhabi, quickly closed in on the victory. This is Pakistan’s first series defeat at their adopted home of United Arab Emirates (UAE) in seven years. They had won five of the previous nine, with four drawn.
Pakistan were forced to play in the neutral venues of the UAE following the deadly terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009. This is also Pakistan’s first home defeat since losing to South Africa 1-0 in 2007, a series held on their grounds, and only the second whitewash in their history. They previously suffered a 3-0 defeat against Australia, a series also played at neutral venues in Colombo and UAE in 2002.
Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal, whose team lost to India 3-0 in August, hailed “a team performance”. “They put their heart and soul in the practice sessions. “It was a tough series against India but we learnt a lot from it. The boys executed the game plan really well in this series. We knew when we came today that Dilruwan and Rangana (Herath) would do the job.” Pakistan skipper Ahmed was left ruing a tough series. “It was a tough series for us. We came close in both matches, but we haven’t played good cricket and that’s why we have lost the series,” said Ahmed.
Shafiq was the ninth man out when he edged paceman Suranga Lakmal to slip where Kusal Mendis took a low diving catch to end all Pakistan’s hopes of an upset win. Shafiq’s 253-minute knock had 10 boundaries but he again failed to help Pakistan cross the line, just like his 137 in the lost cause against Australia at Brisbane last year. Pakistan had looked to the overnight partnership of Shafiq and Ahmed to guide them to the winning target after resuming at 198-5, needing another 119 for victory. Both Shafiq and Ahmed had lucky escapes but Perera finally broke the resistance when Ahmed was caught off a miscued sweep at deep fine leg by Nuwan Pradeep. Ahmed hit five boundaries during his 130-ball knock. Shafiq brought up his hundred with a paddled sweep single off Perera and was reprived on the same score when Dimuth Karunaratne dropped a low catch of the same bowler. —AFP