Pakistan celebrated the return of Test cricket for the first time in over 10 years with a convincing 263-run win over Sri Lanka in the second Test in Karachi on Monday, taking the series 1-0.
It was just a 14-minute and 16-ball formality for Pakistan on the fifth morning to grab Sri Lanka’s last three wickets, dismissing them on their overnight total of 212 in the second innings.
It is Pakistan’s first series win at home against Sri Lanka since 1992. The win lifts Pakistan to third in the World Test Championship table with 80 points. Pakistan got 60 points from the win and 20 from the first Test draw.
The writing was very much on the wall when Pakistan set a daunting 476-run target for the tourists on Sunday and had them staring at defeat on 212-7 at close of play.
Befittingly it was Naseem Shah who at 16 years and 307 days became the second youngest bowler to take five wickets in a Test innings.
The youngster bowled with fire to finish with 5-31.
Fellow Pakistani Nasim-ul-Ghani — a left-arm spinner — holds the record as the youngest bowler with a five-wicket haul in a Test innings.
Ghani completed his feat against the West Indies at Georgetown at the age of 16 years, 303 days.
Naseem was only six when international cricket was suspended in Pakistan following an attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009.
The final day began in a dramatic manner when Shah dismissed Lasit Embuldeniya off the very first ball, catching his gloves on the way to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan.
From the other end leg-spinner Yasir Shah had Oshada Fernando caught in the slip for his overnight score of 102.
Oshada’s 180-ball knock had 13 boundaries.
Shah wrapped up the match by trapping Vishwa Fernando with the fifth ball of the next over, triggering jubilation among the Pakistan players who all played their first Test series at home.
‘A special talent’
Pakistan skipper Ali thanked Sri Lanka for their part in allowing Test cricket to return.
“Special thanks to Sri Lanka from the bottom of our hearts,” said Ali. “They have given us immense happiness by playing in Pakistan, it was pretty emotional.
“Naseem is a special talent and we can build on our bowling attack in the years to come.”
Sri Lankan skipper Dimuth Karunaratne praised Pakistan.
“We dominated the first two days and then they batted very well and put pressure back on us and outplayed us. We couldn’t build pressure with the ball despite taking a lead of 80,” said Karunaratne.
Pakistan were forced to play all their home matches at the neutral venues of United Arab Emirates, before improved security allowed them to host various limited over series in the last four years.