PALLEKELE: Pakistan veteran Younis Khan scored an unbeaten 171 to lead the team to its highest-ever run chase in Pallekele as they beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the decider to grab the three-match series 2-1.
Pakistan sealed their highest run chase and the second highest in the sub-continent with the win. It was also sixth highest successful chase in history.
Pakistan entered the final day’s play needing a further 147 runs with eight wickets in hand on a wearing, but easy-paced Pallekele pitch.
Younis was unbeaten on 171 with skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (59) at the other end as the visitors registered a remarkable win.
Masood is the sixth Pakistan opener to score a century in the fourth innings of a Test — considered by cricketing pundits as the toughest innings of a Test.
Earlier, Dimuth Karunaratne led Sri Lanka in the first innings to a total of 278 courtesy his 130-run knock.
Pakistan were not able to reply efficiently and were all out for 215 courtesy Sarfraz Ahmed’s fighting 78 down the order.
Off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal drew Masood out of his crease with flight and beat him with turn to have him stumped but not before the opener had added 242 runs with Younis to turn the match on its head.
Even after Masood departed after scoring 125, Younis played with characteristic fluency, hitting 18 boundaries in his unbeaten 271-ball knock.
“This series win means a lot to me after we did not fare well in the last three series in Sri Lanka. Both Younis and Masood took the game away from Sri Lanka. And Yasir has been so good in this series. I am glad the youngsters are doing so well for the tea,” Misbah-ul-Haq said.
Younis Khan, Man of the Match
Younis posted his 30th Test century, becoming the first batsman in Test history to notch five centuries in the fourth innings of a Test. Younis playing his 101st Test reached the century landmark shortly before close of the fourth day’s play.
Younis´ five hundreds in the fourth innings – in a career tally of 30 – are the most by any batsman.
“Yesterday when we were fielding, we knew we could chase 400. Credit to Shan Masood, he was amazing. This is a very good bunch of players. Misbah and I keep them calm, they play well under pressure. Yasir Shah has been impressive throughout the series. Imran bowled really well,” said Younis Khan.
“It is not that I train much, but I am involved in everything. I always want to stand up for the team,” Younis Khan.
Yasir Shah, Man of the Series
It was the first time a visiting team had scored more than 300 runs in the fourth innings to win a Test on Sri 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.
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.
“People say I smile a lot, that is my natural way. I have worked a lot on my action with Mushy bhai, worked on my googly and made my action repeatable,” said Yasir Shah, “In the second innings, I went around the wicket to make full use of the track.”
Pakistan deserved to win; Mathews
Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka captain said that it was disappointing. “I though we were sitting pretty when he had 377. This was a really good game after both sides were even. The Pakistan bowlers were brilliant in the second innings. Pakistan deserved to win and they played better cricket than us.”
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.