Sri Lanka set a target of 377 runs for Pakistan in the final game of the three-match Test series at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy.
Skipper Angelo Mathews thought that he had enough runs on the board to play with and trouble the Pakistani batsmen during their run chase. But the visitors achieved the feat rather easily.
Younis Khan and Shaan Masood added 242 runs together in the third wicket and powered the visitors to a memorable victory leaving Mathews and his men clueless.
"I actually thought after we made 376 that we were sitting pretty," Mathews said. "This will definitely take a lot of time to digest, this defeat. We never expected this sort of performance from our team as well as the Pakistanis.We obviously played three seamers because there was a little grass in the pitch and we had to go with three [of them].
"But then on the fourth and fifth day in Sri Lanka, you can't expect a lot of help from the wicket for the seamers. Unfortunately, Tharindu Kaushal didn't bowl that well and we couldn't put the pressure on them. We fought really hard to get to 376 and we never thought we would lose from there," Mathews said in an interview to Espn Cricinfo.
Mathews and co had bundled Pakistan for just 215 runs. The pacers bowled exceptionally well to get the Pakistani batsmen out in the first innings. But Mathews was disappointed with the way his pacers bowled. Tharindu Kaushal were taken for plenty as well. Despite picking up two quick wickets on Day 4, Sri Lanka could not capitalise on their chance of bowling the visitors out.
"The ball didn't turn that much in the last couple of days. It turned a little bit in patches. It turned in the third session yesterday and then settled down. In the first couple of sessions of their innings, it barely turned. For the seamers, there was no hope at all. They bowled their hearts out. Hats off to them, they've been brilliant throughout the series," the skipper said.
"I thought Dhammika Prasad was brilliant, as were Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal. Even Dushmantha Chameera was excellent in the last game. I thought there was no help from the wicket.
"But you can't really blame that when you've got 376 to get them all out. Kaushal has played a lot of matches in A team cricket, which is why we chose him. But we need to think about the pressure of being the only spinner. He's not an experienced Test bowler," Mathews added.