Younis Khan leads Pakistan to series win over Sri Lanka
Younis Khan hit a brilliant unbeaten 171 as Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the third Test on Tuesday to win their first series on the island since 2006.
The tourists achieved the sixth highest successful chase in history when they surpassed the target of 377 runs in the post-lunch session of the fifth day’s play in Pallekele, finishing on 382-3.
Skipper <g data-gr-id="49">Misbah-ul Haq</g> made 59 not out, smashing the winning six off Jehan Mubarak to end his nation’s long winless streak in Sri Lanka where they lost the last three series in 2009, 2012 and 2014.
It was the first time a visiting team had scored more than 300 runs in the fourth innings to win a Test on <g data-gr-id="64">Sri</g> Lankan soil.
Pakistan’s highest successful chase before this had been the 315-9 they scored against Australia to win the Karachi Test way back in 1994.
Younis, who made his 100th Test appearance in the second match, ended the game just 19 runs away from surpassing Javed Miandad’s tally of 8,832 runs to become Pakistan’s leading scorer in Tests.
Pakistan added 25 runs to their overnight score when they lost the wicket of Shan Masood, who was stumped by Dinesh Chandimal off Tharindu Kaushal for 125.
The Kuwait-born left-hander’s maiden Test century came during a third-wicket stand of 242 with Younis after Pakistan had been reduced to 13-2 on Monday afternoon.
Sri Lanka claimed the second new ball as soon as it was due in the 80th over, but the seamers were unable to make an impression on the easy-paced wicket.
The 37-year-old Younis, who came to bat after the fall of the second wicket, stayed solid at one end during a seven-hour vigil in which he hit 18 boundaries.
Younis’ five <g data-gr-id="55">hundreds</g> in the fourth innings -- in a career tally of 30 -- are the most by any batsman.
Misbah provided able support during a 127-run stand with Younis, mixing caution with aggression which fetched him eight fours and a six.
Sri Lanka missed the experience of left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who was not selected, as young off-spinner Kaushal was hammered for 153 runs in his 31 overs.
Pakistan had won the first Test in Galle by 10 wickets and Sri Lanka took the second in Colombo by seven wickets.
The two teams will now play a limited-overs series of five one-day internationals, followed by two Twenty20 games, from Saturday.
In Karachi, the Pakistan cricket team enjoyed one of its greatest days in recent times after winning the third test against Sri Lanka with the Pakistan Cricket Board and cricket community heaping praise on the historic win.
It was Pakistan’s first Test series win in Sri Lanka in nine years and the highest run chase completed by them to win a Test.
“It has been a wonderful performance from the entire team. They have made the nation proud on <g data-gr-id="63">Tuesday ,</g>” PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan said in a message from London.
“I felicitate you on this superb Test series victory. At Pallekelle, Team Pakistan fought its way back to seal the Test and with it the rubber with remarkable, positive cricket as Younus Khan and young Shan Masood batted outstandingly well in a Pakistan record stand after Imran Khan had polished off the last five wickets for his first five-for haul,” Khan said.
“Winning an away series is never easy, and it is Pakistan’s first in Sri Lanka since 2006. In that context, this is all the more commendable,” he added.
The PCB chief said the contribution of the coaching staff headed by Waqar Younis also needed to be acknowledged.
Chairman PCB’s Executive Committee Najam Sethi also congratulated the captain and the team management on rounding off a highly competitive series with a remarkable victory, in the process setting up many new records including scoring 377 runs for a win in the fourth innings.