Azhar defies Sri Lanka; joins 5000 Test club


Defending a paltry target of 136, Sri Lanka--who got thrashed at home by India--came out with a brilliant bowling performance and bowled out Pakistan for 114, thus winning the match by 21 runs in the final session of Day five and taking a 1-0 lead in the series.

"I have no idea how long he is going to play, but I am sure he will do what he can for the team".

Following those dismissals, Sri Lanka appeared the likelier side to lock the match down.

Openers Shan Masood and Sami Aslam also struck half-centuries to lift the designated hosts to 266 for four at the close, trailing Sri Lanka's first-innings 419 by 153 runs, making a draw the most likely outcome. "That made a difference and the guys played some outstanding cricket when they were in the middle", he further said. It was his sixth wicket in the innings, and 11th in the match.

Rangana Herath is playing his 20th Test against Pakistan and he has numbers to show them.

All it did, as it turned out, was delay both the inevitable defeat for Pakistan, as well as Herath becoming the first left-arm spinner to take 400 wickets in Tests.

In between fast bowler Suranga Lakmal had Azhar Ali caught behind for nought.

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Well, for the 39-year-old, he achieved a milestone with his last wicket of Mohammad Abbas - it was his 400th Test wicket - 14th bowler to breach the feat and fifth spinner after fellow countryman Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Aussie legend Shane Warne (708) and Indian spin duo of Anil Kumble (619) and Harbhajan Singh (417).

From Sri Lanka, Rangana Herath bagged 6 wickets while Dilruwan Perera took 3.

9 - Number of 10-wicket hauls in Tests by Rangana Herath, making him the joint-third most. At one stage, Sri Lanka were in control.

Resuming on 49 for 3 and hoping to provide some stubborn resistance, Bangladesh were dismissed for just 90 with Rabada returning figures of 3 for 33 and Maharaj 4 for 25 as South Africa took the last seven wickets for 41 runs.

The fact it would be Sri Lanka who would be signing for a win at the end of the day will not have been universally foreseen.

Sarfraz: Win and loss - it's always a part of the game, but we should have won this match. He has taken 95 wickets against them and needs five more to go past Kapil Dev to become the highest wicket-taker against Pakistan in Tests. "I am so happy with the remarkable achievement (400 wickets)". Conditions are great for batting so, hopefully, we can build a few big partnerships and look to get a first innings lead.