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Wily Herath spins Sri Lanka to fighting victory

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AFP) — Rangana Herath became the second Sri Lankan to bag 400 wickets as his six-wicket haul steered Sri Lanka to a thrilling 21-run win over Pakistan in the first Test in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

The veteran left-arm spinner took 6-43 — 11-136 in the match — to scupper Pakistan, set a modest 136-run target, for just 114 on a weary fifth day Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch.

The victory was achieved when Herath trapped last man Mohammad Abbas leg before for nought to give Sri Lanka a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

Herath, a long-time nemesis of Pakistan, also completed 100 wickets in 20 Tests against them, during an innings in which only debutant Haris Sohail fought with some resolve for his 34 runs.

Herath became the 14th most successful bowler in all Test cricket and fifth spinner behind his countryman Muttiah Muralitharan, Australia's Shane Warne and the Indian duo of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh to reach the 400-wicket milestone.

The 136 was Sri Lanka's lowest defended target, improving on the 168 they set the Pakistanis in the Galle Test in 2009. It was also a first defeat for Pakistan at this venue in 10 Tests.

The second Test — a day-night match — starts in Dubai from Friday.