Azam top-scored for the team with 81 from 146 balls. However, he was the sixth Pakistan wicket to fall with the score at 205. Yasir Shah made 27 from 25, but the visitors slipped to defeat rather swiftly as Prabath Jayasuriya claimed 5 for 117 and Ramesh Mendis ended with figures of 4 for 101.
Speaking after the defeat, Azam admitted, "The lower order falling cheaply was disappointing. Credit to Jayasuriya for how he bowled, he was outstanding. He was patient; in Test cricket, you need patience. He's a consistent bowler. He plugs away at a length and sticks to it. Even if he gets hit for a boundary, he doesn't deviate from his length. As a batting unit, you need patience too, and we were slightly lacking in that department. And that goes for our lower order as well."
After overnight batter Imam-ul-Haq fell early in the day, the dependable pair of Azam and Rizwan added 79. However, once the stand was broken, Sri Lanka gained control of proceedings.
Asked whether the surface changed nature during the course of the day, the Pakistan captain replied, "Early morning, the pitch wasn't doing much. But after a bit of rain, the spinners began to get a bit of help which led to a few of our wickets falling early. We didn't strike up a partnership like we needed to, and whenever back-to-back wickets fall, you inevitably feel the pressure.”
Jayasuriya trapped Azam lbw for 81 and with him Pakistan’s faint hopes of saving the Test disappeared. From 176 for 2 in the 54th over, their innings ended on 261 in 77 overs. Praising Sri Lanka’s bowlers, Azam said, "When you've chased big scores in the past, you get confidence. We brought that confidence into this chase. We had belief we could do it, but Sri Lanka came well prepared and bowled according to their plans. As a batting unit, we were slightly unlucky because there were plenty of soft dismissals.”
Dhananjaya de Silva was named Player of the Match for his impressive all-round show while Prabath Jayasuriya was named Player of the Series for 17 wickets.
–By A Cricket Correspondent