PALLEKELE - Sri Lanka won their first Test series in three years after the final Test against Pakistan ended in a thrilling draw in Pallekele on Thursday. The hosts made a brave bid to chase down a target of 270, reaching 132-2 by tea on the fifth day, before they were pegged back by a three-wicket burst from off-spinner Saeed Ajmal. Dinesh Chandimal scored 65 and the prolific Kumar Sangakkara returned unbeaten on 74 as Sri Lanka made 195-4 before the game was called off with nine overs remaining at the Pallekele International Stadium.
The 1-0 scoreline -- following a 209-run victory in the first Test in Galle -- was Sri Lanka's first Test series win since beating New Zealand 2-0 at home in 2009. The rain-hit second Test in Colombo was drawn, while the entire second day's play in Pallekele had been washed out.
Earlier, Asad Shafiq remained unbeaten on 100 as Pakistan declared their second innings at 380-8 half-an-hour before lunch to attempt a series-levelling win. But the tourists were thwarted by a pitch that eased out under the hot sun and a determined effort by the home team's batsmen in front of some 1,000 spectators. Openers Tharanga Paranavitana and Chandimal gave Sri Lanka a bright start with a 44-run partnership by the 10th over. Left-handed Paranavitana made 22 when he was caught at second slip by Younis Khan off Junaid Khan, one ball after being dropped by Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq at first slip.
Chandimal, a last-minute inclusion for the match after Tillakaratne Dilshan opted out due to health worries in his family, anchored the innings at the start. The 22-year-old's third half-century in four Tests contained fluent strokes on both sides of the wickets, including eight boundaries.
But Chandimal was dismissed in the last over before tea, snapped up low at mid-off by Shafiq off Ajmal, ending an 88-run stand for the second wicket with Sangakkara. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene plodded for 44 balls to make 11 when he attempted to scoop Ajmal to the leg-side and only managed to give a catch to Mohammad Hafeez running back from short-leg.