Babar Azam’s 81 went in vain as Sri Lanka bundled out Pakistan for 261 in the second innings to secure a 246-run win in the second Test, at the Galle International Stadium on Thursday to draw level in the two-match series. Left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuriya bagged his fourth fifer in six innings to derail Pakistan’s efforts to save the Test. Ramesh Mendis backed up his fifer in the first innings with four scalps in the second.
Resuming the final day’s play on 81 for 1, with the threat of rain looming large, Pakistan had their task cut out to save the Test – given that victory was a distant possibility with 419 runs needed. After losing Imam ul Haq early in the day, for 49, while he inside-edged a cut off Ramesh Mendis’s arm delivery to the ‘keeper, Babar and Mohammad Rizwan had kept the visitors steady.
The duo rotated the strike well and even scored the occasional boundaries. Babar was adjudged leg before by the onfield umpire early on Thursday, but he had the decision overturned with a review and went on to notch up his 22nd Test fifty. However, following a 79-run stand which lasted nearly an hour and a half, Babar only became a viewer of Pakistan’s collapse from the other end.
Rizwan was cleaned up on 37 by Jayasuriya when he attempted to play a forward defensive shot, anticipating the ball to turn. It stayed straight and hit the stumps instead. Fawad Alam was run out while attempting a quick single, for which Babar backed out after initial interest. Agha Salman was sent back at the stroke of Tea by a piece of brilliance from Kushal Mendis, who predicted a paddle sweep and made his move early towards the ball.
For a brief period after Lunch, there was a bit of calm, with the spinners troubling the batters but unable to secure a wicket. Babar and Mohammad Nawaz hung in for 20 minutes of the testing spell in the second session before the former was trapped leg before by Jayasuriya’s arm ball. Babar, who had survived a dropped chance a few overs earlier, had no reprieve this time.
His dismissal made the task that much more difficult for the visitors. Nawaz went for a wild heave against Mendis and was caught by Dinesh Chandimal at extra cover. But Yasir went on an overdrive. He struck Jayasuriya for three boundaries in four balls through the mid on and mid wicket region in the next over, and followed it up by two more off Ramesh Mendis in the next – a slog sweep and a step out-and-hit over mid on.
Hasan Ali also joined in the fun as the duo added a breezy 38 in 31 balls for the eighth wicket. However, the entertainment didn’t last too long. In a space of three balls – spread across two overs – both the batters were sent back to the pavilion. Yasir got a leading edge to gully, handing Jayasuriya his fifer, while Hasan missed a wild slog off Mendis and was cleaned up.
Naseem Shah continued the big-hitting show with a couple of slogs for sixes and a boundary, but was eventually caught at deep mid wicket on 18 to hand Sri Lanka a massive win.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 378 (Dinesh Chandimal 80, Niroshan Dickwella 51; Naseem Shah 3-58, Yasir Shah 3-83) & 360/8 (Dhananjaya de Silva 109, Angelo Mathews 61; Naseem Shah 2-44, Mohammad Nawaz 2-75) beat Pakistan 231 (Agha Salman 62, Imam ul Haq 32; Ramesh Mendis 5-47, Prabath Jayasuriya 3-80) & 261 (Babar Azam 81, Imam ul Haq 49; Prabath Jayasuriya 5-117, Ramesh Mendis 4-101) by 246 runs.