From the sublime to the ludicrous. Chasing at Galle, for whatever reasons, is never easy, but to go from 71 for 2 to 117 all out takes some doing. And after bossing a Test match for three days, Pakistan will find themselves wondering how on Earth they lost this one by 50 runs. No Lasith Malinga, no Muttiah Muralitharan, no runs from Sangakkara and Jayawardene and hardly any impact from Ajantha Mendis. And yet they lost. To the left-arm orthodox spin of a 31-year-old, Rangana Herath, who has played just 15 Tests in a decade.
Once Mohammad Yousuf fell to the seventh ball of the day, it was a procession that was all too lemming-like. With no Shahid Afridi to blaze away, there was next to no resistance, and but for Abdur Rauf’s brave 13 which spanned 54 balls, the end would have come even sooner.
Pakistan hadn’t lost a Test on the island in more than two decades, but how they bounce back from this devastating setback will be a true measure of character. On the bright side, they can look at very impressive debuts from Mohammad Aamer and Saeed Ajmal, and a sterling allround contribution from Rauf, the other new boy. But when you’ve lost a game you should have won with eyes wide shut, consolation isn’t all it’s cut out to be.