Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 5 wickets in the third and final Test at Sharjah to level the three-match series 1-1. (All images from AFP)
Mohd Talha impressed with the ball as he was the most successful Pakistan bowler with 6 wickets in the match, 3 wickets in each innings. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 214 in the second innings after first session of play on the final day, giving Pakistan a target of 302 runs from two sessions.
Pakistan at tea were in a tricky situation having lost three wickets at the 100-run mark. Misbah-ul Haq then made a change in the batting order by promoting wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed (in pic) and it turned out to be a masterstroke as the right-hander plundered 48 runs off 46 balls and shared a purposeful run-a-ball 89-run stand that gave Pakistan the hope that they can chase down the daunting target.
Once Sarfraz departed, Misbah-ul Haq came in support of Azhar Ali who was batting at a good rate. Misbah rotated the strike frequently by hitting the gaps and taking the crucial ones and twos. Misbah was particularly harsh on Sri Lanka's No.1 bowler Rangana Herath and used the reverse sweep to good effect to nullify his orthodox left-arm spin.
Azhar Ali then went on to record his fifth Test hundred and one of his best knocks as his 109-run partnership with Misbah kept Pakistan ahead of the run-rate at most times.
Angelo Mathews had one of the toughest days as Sri Lanka skipper as they tried to slow down the play in a bid to enforce a draw and pocket the series. However, umpires, Richard Kettleborough (in pic) and S Ravi were vigilant and did not allow any leeway to the Lankans and ensured that the play had no time lapses.
Misbah-ul Haq completed a 25th Test fifty and one of his most important ones. His quickfire 72-ball 68 not out helped Pakistan score a 5-wicket win as they chased down 302 in just 57.3 overs. Pakistan, thus recorded the fastest run rate in chasing any 300-plus total successfully in Test history. After the match, Misbah said they wanted to present this gift as a perfect send-off for coach Dav Whatmore who is set to leave the post next month.
Mathews-led Sri Lanka tried every thing in their armoury but could not stop Pakistan at Sharjah. The series ended 1-1 and it were the Pakistanis who had a louder cheer with the drawn result in the end.
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