Rangana Herath was instrumental for Sri Lanka with an 11-wicket haul as the visitors bowled out Pakistan for 114 in the final innings and helped them register a 21 run win in the first Test in Abu Dhabi thereby claiming a 1-0 unassailable lead in the two match series.
Ali was dismissed after scoring 85 runs today, followed by skipper Sarfraz Ahmed on 18 and bowler Mohammad Amir on four runs. It was, aptly, Herath, who took the winning wicket as he got Abbas plumb in front of wicket to clinch his 400th wicket and a famous win for Sri Lanka. He mentioned that the wicket of Azhar Ali was the turning point in the match. He became the eighth Pakistan batsmen behind Younis Khan (10,099), Javed Miandad (8832) Inzamam-ul-Haq (8829), Mohammad Yousuf (7530), Salim Malik (5768), Misbah (5222) and Zaheer Abbas (5062) to reach the milestone.
Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur rued the fact that the team could not go over the line in the first Test against Sri Lanka recently.
"I am really proud of this achievement", Herath said. The veteran responded, "I have no idea".
After lunch, Perera also survived a stumping chance on 32 but was out for 33, the video this time confirming he was back leg before wicket, giving part-time spinner Haris Sohail a wicket on debut.
Sri Lanka resumed the day at 69 for four, having a lead of 66 runs.
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It was Herath who gave his team the much-needed wicket of a resolute Ali, luring him into an uppish drive which was brilliantly caught at short mid-wicket by a diving Kusal Mendis.
It was Pakistan's first test defeat in Abu Dhabi, one of the team's homes away from home while global cricket is suspended in their country.
The fact Sri Lanka head to Dubai for the second match - and their first floodlit Test - on Friday knowing they can not lose the series is a remarkable effort on a number of counts.
Chasing a target of 136, Pakistan never got going and the combination of Herath and off-spinner Dilruwan Perera took advantage of a tired and sluggish fifth-day pitch to send the hosts packing for the just 114 runs. Conditions are great for batting so, hopefully, we can build a few big partnerships and look to get a first innings lead. "We all knew the legend Rangana would come into play, and finally he did his best". "We were always going to be under pressure as the game goes on because we couldn't expect the tail to get us over the line", quoted Mickey Arthur as per the quotes in Cricbuzz.
The second Test - a day-night match - starts in Dubai from Friday.