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Herath spins Sri Lanka to victory as hosts collapse

Herath spins Sri Lanka to victory as hosts collapse

The first innings, after which only three runs separated the teams, now seems like a long set-up for what eventually became a gripping second-innings shootout. There was, however, a mini revival, the only bright spot at that for Lanka batting as Niroshan Dickwella and Lakshan Sandakan stitched a crucial 34-run partnership.

Contrary to first innings in which both Pakistan and Sri Lanka remained very much even and scored 422 and 419 runs respectively, the second innings really tested their skills and nerves. "That made a difference and the guys played some outstanding cricket when they were in the middle", he further said. Herath has six such hauls against Australia too in 11 matches. Following the lavish home thrashings suffered at India's hands, Sri Lanka were desperate for a victory to win their public back.

Herath's 5-93 in 40 overs were well foiled by a brilliant 76 by Test debutant Haris Sohail, as initially it looked as though Sri Lanka would take a first-innings lead.

After Suranga Lakmal dismissed a leaden-footed Azhar Ali and Perera took two wickets himself, Herath produced perhaps the two biggest wickets of the innings.

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.

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Meanwhile Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath achieved a colossal feat during the game. Herath now has 400 wickets to his name from 84 Test matches.

Rangana Herath claimed his 32nd five-wicket haul to ensure Pakistan's advantage was minimal but the tourists limped to 69 for four at the close, with all four wickets going to the slow bowlers.

The veteran bowler stole the headlines on an action-packed final day of the first Test, bringing up his landmark scalp with the match-clinching lbw dismissal of Mohammad Abbas. At one stage, Sri Lanka were in control.

The fact it would be Sri Lanka who would be signing for a win at the end of the day will not have been universally foreseen.

"Dickwella was unbelievable in the second innings, he got us to [almost] 140, " Chandimal said. Sarfraz Ahmed (16*) and Haris Sohail though, played with application and technique to guide them to the break. As soon as we got there, we knew Rangana would lead us in the defence of the target. He has taken 95 wickets against them and needs five more to go past Kapil Dev to become the highest wicket-taker against Pakistan in Tests. When you are getting old, it gets increasingly hard, it's a different feeling (on his 400 Test wickets).