Pakistan made it a difficult chase at times but the visitors in the end completed a four-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first Test on Thursday.
Pakistan kept losing wickets at regular intervals but opening batter Imam-ul Haq scored an unbeaten half-century, his eighth in Test cricket, to see the visitors through before Lunch on the fifth day.
Sri Lanka won the toss and batted, scoring 312, and Pakistan replied with 461 in their first innings. The home side scored 279 runs in their second at-bat, leaving Pakistan 131 runs to win.
Pakistan didn’t get off to a good start and limped to 48 for three at stumps on Day IV.
When play resumed on the final day, Pakistan needed 83 runs and there were memories of the 2009 Test at Galle. That’s when the visitors needed 97 runs with eight wickets in hand chasing a target of 168 but collapsed and were bowled out for 117.
Babar Azam added 41 runs for the fourth wicket on Thursday with Imam and the run chase looked a mere formality, but Prabath Jayasuriya trapped the Pakistan captain for 24 to give Sri Lanka some hope.
Saud Shakeel and Imam then added 43 runs for the fifth wicket. Shakeel, who was playing the spinners well, came down the track and executed an elegant cover drive off Ramesh Mendis but was caught behind the next ball to give Mendis his first wicket in the innings.
Jayasuriya claimed his fourth wicket when Sarfraz Ahmed, attempting to sweep, was caught at backward square leg by Kusal Mendis.
While wickets were falling on the other end, Imam was unbeaten on 50 having faced 84 deliveries and hit four fours and one six.
Agha Salman then hit Jayasuriya for a six over long-off to score the winning runs.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 312 & 279. Pakistan 461 & 133/6 (Imam-ul Haq 50 n.o.; Prabath Jayasuriya 4/56). Pakistan won by 4 wickets.