Pakistan draw series after superb chase

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Pakistan won the third Test against Sri Lanka by five wickets in Sharjah, thus drawing the series, thanks to a century from Azhar Ali and a 68 from Misbah-ul-Haq, as Pakistan achieved their second-best fourth innings chase.

Pakistan won the third Test against Sri Lanka by five wickets in Sharjah, thus drawing the series, thanks to a century from Azhar Ali and a 68 from Misbah-ul-Haq, as Pakistan achieved their second-best fourth innings chase.

Sri Lanka were all out for 214 runs early in the day, leaving the hosts with 59 overs to get the unlikely target of 302 runs. The hosts set about the chase in an aggressive manner, and in the end got there with an over to spare.

Sri Lanka started the day on 133 for five, having played most of the match with a draw in mind due to their series lead. Angelo Mathews and Prasanna Jayawardene were in the middle and lasted for another 13 overs.

Mathews was out for 31 off 128 balls, falling to Mohammad Talha, leaving Prasanna to bat with the faltering tail. He made the top score of the innings, reaching 49 before being caught by Azhar Ali off Saeed Ajmal.

The spinners took the bulk of the wickets, with Ajmal and Abdur Rehman taking seven between them as they wrapped up the tail, all for single figures, to bring on the lunch interval.

When Pakistan came out to bat it was clear they were going for the target, and where into the 20s in less than three overs. Openers Khurram Manzoor and Ahmed Shehzad both made 21 before both being removed by Suranga Lakmal.

Younis Khan then scored a valuable 29 as they chase kept pace with the required run rate, while wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed seemingly cemented his role in the side with a nifty 48 off 46 balls.

Ali and Misbah were the main aggressors though as they put on 109 runs together in less than 20 overs. Misbah, not known for his fast-paced batting, his half ton off 59 balls as the Sri Lankans failed to stop the singles.

Ali's century came as the light was fading, off 133 balls, before he was sent back to the dressing room, caught behind off Lakmal. He ran off the field rather than review, knowing how little light remained.

Umpire Richard Kettleborough was strict with the Sri Lankans, warning skipper Mathews about time wasting and threatening to hand Pakistan five penalty runs. This ensured a proper over rate, though the lights were on.

As it was, Misbah hit the winning single more than an over to spare, thus preventing a maiden series win in the UAE for Sri Lanka, and punishing them for their sluggish play almost from day one.

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