CricketFive Key Points From Sri Lanka v Pakistan Test Series
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Sri Lanka bounced back from an early defeat after thrashing Pakistan by 246 runs in the second Test to level the series 1-1 on Thursday.

Here we highlight five key points of the Pakistan tour:

Captain Babar Azam extended his scintillating performance to drive the tourists almost single-handedly in the two-match series. Azam’s innings of 119 and 55 gave the team an early win after chasing Galle’s record of 342.

He scored 81 while chasing Pakistan’s mammoth target of 508 in the second Test, but it was his only fight against a motivated Sri Lankan spin attack.

The 27-year-old star batsman has averaged 63 in the last 12 months and is third in the Test batting rankings behind Joe Root and Marnus Labuschagne. He is number one in ODI and T20 rankings.

Azam was far from the only star among the tourists, making it a series to remember after opener Abdullah Shafiq scored an unbeaten 160 in the first Test.

Shafiq, 22, batted with grit and commitment as the tourists chased down Galle’s record target. Bowler Naseem Shah, 19, meanwhile troubled Sri Lankan batsmen with his express to claim a five-wicket haul in the second Test and add to Pakistan’s steady stream of fast bowling talent under Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Galle hosted Australia and then Pakistan in four consecutive Tests, but the venue offered radically different pitches in each competition – much to the surprise of the teams.

Sri Lanka lost their Australia opener on a vicious turner but then bounced back and beat the tourists on the fourth day’s pitch.

After Pakistan chased down the Galle record in the first match, Sri Lanka’s spin coach Piyal Wijetunge said the “wicket fell flat” on the fourth and fifth days.

In the second match, Pakistan looked confident to chase down 508 before their batting collapsed, but Azam congratulated the Sri Lankan spinners and praised their bowling skills.

Sri Lanka have a new spin king in the form of Prabhat Jayasuriya, who took his fourth five-wicket haul in his third Test. The 30-year-old took Pakistan’s batsmen with his left-arm spin to claim 17 wickets in the series, as well as dismiss Azam thrice in four innings.

Jayasuriya has taken 29 wickets in three Tests since making his debut against Australia this month, but after able assists from Ramesh Mendis, he credits the bowling partnership. Spinner Ramesh took nine wickets for the match.

Dinesh Chandimal carried on with his thundering form by playing a brilliant innings, leaving the Pakistan bowlers looking for answers.

The former captain scored 76 not out and 94 not out in the first Test, but his 80 in Sri Lanka’s first innings established his dominance and Thursday’s victory.

The 32-year-old Chandimal has been calm in and out of the Sri Lankan team since his ouster as captain in 2017.

He hit his maiden double century – 206 not out – in the recent series against Australia and said the support of friends and family has made him “mentally stronger”.