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Herath heroics carve out Sri Lanka win in Galle

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Sri Lanka cruised to a seven wicket win on day 5 of the Galle test to take a 1-0 series lead on the back of a brilliant bowling spell from Rangana Herath that made short work of the Pakistani batsmen.

Ahmed Shahzad walked out to bat with nightwatchman Saeed Ajmal on a fifth day wicket that promised to make things interesting. The duo played through some quiet early overs before Dhammika Prasad had Ajmal caught behind for 4. Azhar Ali welcomed Rangana Herath to the bowling crease with a crisp drive through wide mid-on as Angelo Mathews attacked with Perera and Herath from the two ends.

The Pakistani batsmen played most parts of their partnerships with defensive shots before Perera sent Ahmed Shahzad back, trapped lbw for a sedate 16. With Pakistan at 39-3, Younis Khan opened his account with a cover boundary first ball. Younis punched a yorker length ball from Shaminda Eranga down the ground for four before Herath snuck through his bat and pad to upset the stumps. Younis walked back for 13 as the visitors felt the heat at 55-4.

Misbah-ul-haq got off the mark with a whack to the boundary over Herath's head as he and Azhar Ali saw Pakistan through to lunch at 66-4, still 16 runs behind. Perera trapped Misbah lbw after lunch but the Pakistani skipper revived himself with a successful review. With spin from both ends, the batsmen played extremely cautiously before Misbah switched gears for two balls as he smashed Perera for a six and followed it up with a reverse paddle for four as the visitors soon took the lead.

Azhar Ali unleashed some stylish boundaries as he brought up the fifty run stand with Misbah. However, Herath had Azhar caught behind for 41 before Perera removed Misbah, lbw with the help of a referral, as Pakistan tottered to 116-6. Sri Lanka once again worked the review in their favor as they sent Asad Shafiq back for 8, trapped lbw by Herath.

Sarfaraz Ahmed settled in well, playing some delightful strokes as he received some company from Abdur Rehman. Sarfaraz punched and swept Herath for consecutive boundaries. However, Eranga had Rehman caught behind on the stoke of tea as Pakistan faultered further.

Sarfaraz waged a lone battle as he played positively with the bat to soon reach his half century. However, Herath got Mohammed Talha to edge one behind to edge Sri Lanka closer to a win. Talha, walked back after a failed review, as Pakistan went down miserably. Rangana Herath picked his sixth wicket when he trapped Junaid Khan in front of wicket with the new ball as the visitors folded for 180, leaving Sri Lanka a target of 99 to get from a possible 21 overs.

The Lankan batsmen started off briskly with Upul Tharanga cutting Saeed Ajmal for a boundary. Mahela Jayawardene, much to the delight of the crowd that had filled up in Galle to see this great man play, opened the innings as he picked up the important singles to keep the scoreboard ticking. Soon enough, the reverse sweep came out and Mahela was off an running against Ajmal. Junaid Khan disturbed Tharanga's off stump in the seventh over as Pakistan looked to put up a fight.

Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene took proceedings further as the air became slightly tense with rain clouds looming. Sangakkara mowed Ajmal to cow corner before whacking Junaid straight down the ground for four as the hosts crossed the 50 run mark. Jayawardene kept at the busy batting but was cleaned up by a Junaid yorker in an attempt to make room and square the ball on the off side. Jayawardene walked back for 26, his last innings in Galle.

Angelo Mathews set off with boundaries off Junaid before Sangakkara pulled a Mohammed Talha short ball straight to long on. Kiturawan Vithanage joined Mathews in the middle as the hosts soon needed 24 runs from six overs. Mathews, who finished on 25 off just 13 balls, took Junaid for a six over cow corner before Vithanage took another six in the same over as Sri Lanka cruised to a series lead in the nick of time with seven wickets to spare.


Pakistan 1st Innings, 451 all out (140.5 overs)

Y Khan 177 (331)  D Perera 5-137 (31.5)

A Shafiq 75 (147) R Herath 3-116 (38)

Sri Lanka 1st Innings 533-9d (163.1 overs)

K Sangakkara 221 (425) S Ajmal 5-166 (59.1)

A Mathews 91 (188) J Khan 2-104 (33)

Pakistan, 2nd Innings, 180 all out (80.2)

S Ahmed 52* (70) R Herath 6-48 (30.2)

Azhar Ali 41 (151) D Perera 2-68 (28)

Sri Lanka, 2nd Innings, 99-3 (16.2 overs)

M Jayawardene 26 (35) J Khan 2-55 (8)

A Mathews 25 (13)M Talha 1-12 (2.2)