Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal took five wickets to steer Pakistan to a nine-wicket win in the second Test against Sri Lanka at Dubai Stadium here on Saturday, going 1-0 up in the three-match series.
The 34-year-old finished with 5-68 — his fourth five-wicket haul in a Test — to help restrict Sri Lanka to 257 in its second innings before Pakistan went about reaching its modest 94-run target to seal victory with a day to spare.
Ajmal was ably supported by left-arm spin partner Abdul Rehman (2-65) and paceman Junaid Khan (2-38) as they exploited the spin and low bounce, on a weary pitch, to the best effect.
Pakistan lost opener Taufiq Umar, bowled for one by spinner Rangana Herath, but Mohammad Hafeez (59) and Azhar Ali (29) scored the required runs inside 24.1 overs.
Ali took the winning single much to the delight of a 2,000 holiday crowd, but it was Hafeez who hit five boundaries and two towering sixes to secure Pakistan's win on the fourth day.
In Sri Lankan's second innings, opener Tharanga Paranavitana (72) and vice-captain Angelo Mathews (52 n.o.) put up a notable resistance against some penetrative pace-cum spin attack from Pakistan.
Pakistan had dismissed Sangakkara (30) in the fourth over of the fourth day before dismissing Mahela Jayawardene (five) and skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan (three) — three wickets for 18 runs — to put it on the victory path.
The first Test ended in a draw at Abu Dhabi last week.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq praised the team effort.
Sri Lanka — 1st innings: 239.
Pakistan — 1st innings: 403.
Sri Lanka — 2nd innings: T. Paranavitana c Younis b Ajmal 72, L. Thirimanne b Hafeez 8, K. Sangakkara lbw b Rehman 30, M. Jayawardene b Ajmal 5, T. Dilshan lbw b Junaid 3, A. Mathews (not out) 52, K. Silva c Ajmal b Junaid 8, D. Prasad b Rehman 33, R. Herath c Misbah b Ajmal 15, C. Welegedara lbw b Ajmal 4, S. Lakmal b Ajmal 8; Extras (b-14, lb-3, nb-2): 19; Total (all out in 109.5 overs): 257.
Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-95, 3-113, 4-116, 5-141, 6-166, 7-222, 8-243, 9-247.
Pakistan bowling: Gul 15-3-39-0, Junaid 17-4-38-2, Hafeez 14-2-30-1, Rehman 33-7-65-2, Ajmal 30.5-9-68-5.
Pakistan — 2nd innings: Mohammad Hafeez (not out) 59, Taufiq Umar b Herath 1, Azhar Ali (not out) 29; Extras (b-4, lb-1): 5; Total (for one wkt. in 24.1 overs): 94.
Fall of wicket: 1-17.
Sri Lanka bowling: Prasad 3-0-23-0, Welegedara 2-1-1-0, Herath 10.1-2-29-1, Dilshan 9-0-36-0.