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The hosts fought back in the match after conceding a 220-run first-innings lead but fell short by 68 runs in chase of 317 after a top-order collapse despite fighting knocks by Asad Shafiq (112) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (68).

By Abdullah Ansari (10th October, 2017)

 

Pakistan fell short in their quest to complete yet another 300+ fourth-innings run-chase against Sri Lanka to bring their undefeated series streak in UAE to a premature end. After skittling the hosts out for 96 in the third innings, hopes of victory were renewed in the Pakistan camp but an overly cautious start by the openers soon saw Pakistan lose quick wickets in the shape of Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali, both to the Sri Lankan fast-bowlers. Haris Sohail earned himself a promotion in the batting order after his excellent batting displays earlier in the series but was unable to make a big score this time around as a superb delivery from Dilruwan Perera had him caught behind. Shan Masood was next, falling after making a dismal 21 off 101 balls and Babar Azam followed suit, continuing his barren run in the longest format with another duck. Asad Shafiq and Sarfaraz Ahmed stabilised the innings with a fantastic partnership, once again giving Pakistan hopes of a comeback after being 52/5 but Sarfaraz's knock was eventually brought to an end after resumption of play on Day 5 for 68. Asad Shafiq carried on to make a hundred but it was all in vain as he was the second-last batsman to fall with Pakistan's tail putting up a minimal amount of fight as Dilruwan Perera ended with five wickets to his name.

Earlier in the Test match, Sri Lanka won the toss once again and opted to bat first, putting runs on the board with a massive first-innings total of 482. The Pakistan bowlers toiled for a long time as the visitors opted to grind it out with Dimuth Karunaratne the chief architect of the total. The opener shared in a big partnership for the fourth wicket with captain Dinesh Chandimal grinding out a circumspect 62. Niroshan Dickwella and Perera followed with fifties in support of Karunaratne as the opener neared a double-hundred but Wahab Riaz finally dismissed him, played on for a fabulous 196. Further contributions from the tail saw Sri Lanka finish with a huge total as Yasir Shah ended with figures of 6/184 after bowling more than 55 overs in the innings.

Pakistan's first-innings reply began with a fifty partnership from the openers but the hosts felt the pinch of the slow run-rate when wickets began to fall. The openers were dismissed in quick succession while Asad Shafiq failed once again, falling to a peach of a delivery from Suranga Lakmal. Haris Sohail and Azhar Ali were the only ones to put up a fight but both fell soon after getting to their fifties and with minimum contributions from the others, Pakistan rapidly fell to 262 all out with Rangana Herath and Perera picking up three wickets apiece as the visitors took a 220-run lead.

Sri Lanka had to negotiate a tough period towards the end of Day 3 and Pakistan finally awoke from their slumber with Mohammad Abbas dismissing Kaushal Silva early on. Wahab had Karunaratne out chopping onto his stumps for the second time in the match and then removed Sadeera Samarawickrama and Chandimal with Yasir dismissing the night-watchman Lakmal as Sri Lanka slumped to 34/5 at Stumps. At the start of the next day, crucial 20s from Kusal Mendis and Dickwella helped Sri Lanka to stretch the lead beyond 300. However, Haris came on to bowl and registered startling figures of 3/1 to rekindle Pakistani hopes of a famous comeback victory but it was not to be as it was Sri Lanka who instead registered a stunning whitewash, a 180-degree turnaround after losing nine out of nine matches against India at home just two months ago.

Pakistan XI: Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed (c/wk), Mohammad Amir, Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Abbas

Sri Lanka XI: Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal (c), Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Gamage, Nuwan Pradeep

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