Sri Lanka settle for draw at Pallekele
Sri Lanka and Pakistan played to a draw in the third and final test at Pallekele on Thursday, giving the Lankans a 1-0 series victory, their first since August 2009.
Pakistan declared early on day five with a lead of 269, giving Sri Lanka 71 overs to try and get the target of 270, which they at one stage looked like doing. But Saeed Ajmal once again came to the party and Sri Lanka gave up the ghost with the score on 195 for four, with nine over remaining in the day.
Pakistan's first innings saw them score 226 all out, with Asad Shafiq hitting a top score of 75. Sri Lanka replied with 337, Thisara Perera also getting 75 and Pakistan needing to overcome a deficit of 111. They proceeded to score 380 declared, thanks to centuries by Azhar Ali and Shafiq, leaving the required 270 for victory.
Had Sri Lanka won the game, they would have gone above Pakistan on the ICC Test rankings, but the draw sees the visitors remain in fifth place and the Lankans in sixth. Kumar Sangakkara was the big winner of the series though, finishing with by far the most runs, including 74 not out at stumps. He was awarded man of the series for his efforts.
The test was really a four day game, as one day was rained off, and it looked to be heading to a cracking finale before the home side decided to play for the draw in the final hour.
The day began with Pakistan on 299 for eight, and everyone assumed Adnan Akmal, with his fractured hand, would be easily dismissed. But they were wrong, and he toughed it out to make 35 not out and stick by Shafiq as he made his century before declaring.
The Lankans came out to bat and looked to be chasing the target, with Dinesh Chandimal batting like an ODI player on his way to 65 before falling. Sangakkara never looked fully in the groove though, so while wickets fell around him, he could not push for the target.