Pakistan's batting veteran Younis Khan starred with an unbeaten 171 as the visitors registered a historic victory, chasing down their highest ever total, that of 377 set by Sri Lanka at Pallekele. In addition, this was also the second highest Test total chased in Asia, and the sixth highest in Test cricket overall. The victory meant Pakistan won the three-Test match series 2-1, their first Test series win in Sri Lanka since 2006. The triumph also meant Pakistan climbed to number three in the ICC Test rankings.
With Shan Masood and Younis having put the visitors in a strong position on the penultimate day with their tons, Pakistan began the last day with a relatively easy-seeming task of making 147 runs with eight wickets in hand. Sri Lanka's fast bowlers however began well, and kept both Younis and Masood in check. While the experienced Younis was not affected by the slow rate of scoring, Masood began feeling the pressure. As soon as off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal was brought into the attack, he tried to relieve the pressure by charging the slow bowler. But, he missed the ball completely, and was stumped for 125.
The dismissal of Masood proved to be a blessing in disguise for Pakistan, as it brought skipper Misbah-ul-Haq to the crease, the best man they could have under the circumstances. Misbah and Younis looked in no trouble at all, and chipped away at the target with. After the initial tight spell by the pacers, Pakistan had it easy for the rest of the day. Kaushal offered full tosses and length deliveries, and the Pakistan duo swept the bowler with ease. Kaushal finished with figures of 1 for 153 in 31 overs, which was one of the key reasons Lanka could not defend a big total. Misbah, after a flurry of fours, finished off the match with a six.
--By A Cricket Correspondent