We knew the new ball will do the trick – Dilruwna

Rex Clementine reporting from Dubai

Sri Lankan off-spinner Dilruwan Perera says that he was confident that the second new ball would do the job for his team going into the final day’s play of the second Test in Dubai, which Sri Lanka won by 68 runs to clinch the two-match series 2-0 on Tuesday.

Pakistan had slumped to 52 for five on day four and with the last session remaining, Sri Lanka were expected to wrap things up inside four days. But the dew came in making it difficult for the spinners and a record 173-run stand between captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Asad Shafiq gave the hosts some hope.

Pakistan began the final day requiring 119 runs with five wicket in hand, but once Perera produced the breakthrough by removing Sarfraz, the opposition collapsed losing their last five wickets for 28 runs.

"The difference with the pink ball is that once the ball gets older, you won’t be able to grip it. We failed to get much turn after the ball had got softer. Then there was dew as well and that allowed Pakistan to bat comfortably. But we knew that on the final day, once we take the second new ball, things will fall in line," Perera told journalists.

Perera took five wickets in the second-innings and finished the series with 12 wickets, behind Rangana Herath, who took 16 wickets.

"I came with a plan for this series. Against India, I did not have the right rhythm. I did a few adjustments to my bowling and that helped me to be successful. The contributions that I made with the bat also helped my confidence."

Perera headed home with the team’s Test specialists and now will have four weeks to prepare for the away series against India. "If I can produce the same form in the Indian series, I think I will perform better than what I did against them at home earlier this year"

Perera complemented Herath well and the two spinners finished the series with 28 wickets. "In the last Test match in Abu Dhabi, when Rangna was taking wickets, my job was to hold one end up. Today the roles were reversed. I was taking the wickets and he was doing the containment part. We complement each other well," Perera further said.

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