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03 October 2017, 08:35 | Marlene Fleming
Muhammad Abbas and Yasir Shah grabbed 3 wickets each for Pakistan Hasan Ali picked up 2 while 1 wicket went into Haris Sohail’s bowling account
Sri Lanka's hopes of inflicting a first ever defeat on the hosts at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium appeared slim after they were bowled out themselves for 138 and could therefore set Pakistan only 136 to win. Before we came here, they talked to me, and the team, and gave really good confidence.
Niroshan Dickwella ensured Sri Lanka had something to defend with a pugnacious 40. He is supportive to me and the players, with what he has learnt from cricket.
Dickwella then took a rearguard action, shielding the number 10 Lakshan Sandakan from the bowling during a resistance-packed ninth wicket stand of 34 which came in 10.1 overs.
Perera ended Sohail's fight by trapping him leg before and also had Shah but it turned out to be a no-ball, halting Sri Lanka's celebrations, eventually provided by Herath. This was thanks to Rangana Herath's 6 for 43, during the course of which he became the first left-arm spinner to take 400 Test wickets.
It was Pakistan'sfirst test defeat in Abu Dhabi, one of the team's homes away from home while worldwide cricket is suspended in their country.
Herath became the 14th bowler in all Test cricket and the fifth spinner behind his fellow countryman Muttiah Muralitharan, Australia's Shane Warne and India duo Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh to reach the 400-wicket milestone.
The veteran bowler stole the headlines on an action-packed final day of the first Test, bringing up his landmark scalp with the match-clinching lbw dismissal of Mohammad Abbas.
The visitors then kept chipping away at Pakistan as Dilruwan Perera and Herath got Babar Azam and Asad Shafiq respectively and suddenly Pakistan were at sixes and sevens.
After lunch, Perera also survived a stumping chance on 32 but was out for 33, the video this time confirming he was back leg before wicket, giving part-time spinner Haris Sohail a wicket on debut. If a result appeared out of the question at that point, it appeared all but certain once the Sri Lankans had crumbled to 138 all out in their second innings.
The slow turn on a flat wicket means the Test heads for a draw unless Sri Lanka flop in the second innings. Sri Lanka can be backed for the win at 7/4 and the draw is on offer at 3/1.
"Dickwella was unbelievable in the second innings, he got us to [almost] 140, " Chandimal said. When you are getting old, it gets increasingly hard, it's a different feeling (on his 400 Test wickets).
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