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By Abhijit Banare
Aug 18, 2014
Sri Lanka managed to give a fitting farewell to their legend Mahela Jayawardene by trouncing Pakistan by 105 runs in the second Test at Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC), Colombo on Monday. The heavy rains threatened to delay the start of play, but the groundsmen did a fine job as Lanka picked the remaining two wickets to skittle Pakistan out for 165. Junaid Khan didn’t bat due to the injury while batting in the first innings. Rangana Herath was too hot to handle for the visitors as he bagged 14 wickets in the Test and 22 overall.
The spectators had turned out in big numbers early to see Jayawardene for one final time in Tests. Many of his former and current teammates, his family were in attendance. He had already won their hearts with a 54 on Day Three becoming the only Lankan to score a fifty in his debut and final Test. Within minutes of the final Pakistan wicket, the entire team converged towards him and took turns to carry him around the ground as the Sri Lankan national anthem played in the background. In Photos: Highlights of Jayawardene’s Test career
The Lankan board had specially scheduled Jayawardene’s final Test on his home ground. The pitch at SSC, Colombo is known to be a flat deck and known to witness big innings. However, it was a bit two-paced at the start and though Lanka started off solidly on first day but a patient Pakistan pace attack managed to peg them back. Junaid bowled his heart out to bag a five-for — his fifth against Sri Lanka. Having restricted the Lankans to 320, this was their best chance to build on a good first innings lead. Like Lanka, even they started off well only to squander the opportunity as the middle order came apart with just over 100 runs on board. And once again, it was Herath who continued to torment them. He bagged a record nine wickets in the first innings to become the only left-arm bowler to do so. While Herath left the opposition puzzled with nine for 127, the tail-enders had to face some chin music from Dhammika Prasad. In the process, Pakistan lost the services of Junaid who was hit near the visor. Though he looked fine for the moment but it turned out to be a serious injury and couldn’t participate in the rest of the match.
While Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq continued to remain the backbone of the Pakistan batting, Sarfaraz Ahmed was revelation. Ahmed scored fifty in each innings of the two Tests to become the first Pakistan keeper to score four 50 plus scores in a series. Batting at No 7, Ahmed held the innings together every time his team was in trouble and also got a well-deserved ton in the first innings at Colombo.
Having conceded a 12-run lead, the Lankans went about setting their target in a calculated manner. And there couldn’t have been a better sight to watch the famed Sangakkara-Jayawardene partnership putting on their 19th century partnership in Tests. Jayawardene had to keep aside nervous moments in his final Test. He struggled to do so in the first innings dismissed by Saeed Ajmal for four, but he fought hard to get in to the groove in his final innings. Once in his flow, Jayawardene looked at ease remaining unbeaten at stumps on the third day. However, the joy was shortlived as he was dismissed by Ajmal again after crossing his 50th Test fifty.
The Lankan tail hung on along with Angelo Mathews to set a target of 271, a tough one on the turning pitch. It was close to a repeat telecast of the first innings except that Prasad had softened them up removing the openers while Herath continued to make merry. Herath also equalled Anil Kumble’s record of bagging most wickets in Test against Pakistan and the most wickets in a two-Test series.
Pakistan were no match for Herath’s spin as they were almost out of the game with 127 for seven at stumps on the fourth day. The Lankans completed the mere formalities in an hour as the stadium erupted in joy. There were emotional moments all around. The celebrations were a reminiscent of Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement last year. Sri Lanka had already prepared well for the new era grooming Angelo Mathews who has turned out to be a fine captain. It was a matter of time they prepared for moments like this to truly begin a new era.
Sri Lanka 320 (Upul Tharanga 92, Kaushal Silva 41; Junaid Khan 5 for 87) and 282 (Upul Tharanga 45; Kumar Sangakkara 59, Mahela Jayawardene 54, Angelo Mathews 43; Wahab Riaz 3 for 76, Saeed Ajmal 3 for 89) beat Pakistan 332 (Asad Shafiq 42, Sarfaraz Ahmed 103; Rangana Herath 9 for 127) and 125 (Asad Shafiq 32, Sarfraz Ahmed 55; Herath 5 for 57) by 105 runs
Man of the Match: Rangana Herath
Man of the Series: Rangana Herath
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)
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