Trouble was, they had not. It is an alarming departure for a side who had apparently erased regular collapses from their resume.
The verdict Test matches in the UAE are known for speeding up on the last two days, but this was extreme.
South Africa made short work of Bangladesh early on the final day of the first Test to complete a 333-run victory at Potchefstroom. The remaining two were done in less than four. Pakistan had luck on their side with the reviews as both Ali and Shafiq survived confident appeals.
Nuwan Pradeep (0) was the final batsmen to be dismissed when Hasan Ali (1-21) castled him with only Niroshan Dickwella (40 not out) showing some fight in helping Sri Lanka post 138 and set a target of 136 runs for Pakistan in the final innings. Kumar Sangakkara, then captain, asked Herath if he could make it in time. No Misbah-ul-Haq, or Younis Khan?
He walked out to bat in the 29th over of Day 1 when Sri Lanka were precariously placed at 61/3.
Herath took 23 wickets against Pakistan in 2014 - a world record in a two-match series, and he said he had no clue why he was continually so successful against the nation. He had taken 29 matches for his first 100 wickets, 18 for his second 100 and 22 for his third 100. They achieved it, somehow, with a little to spare. These equal the most such hauls taken by any left-arm spinner against an opposition.
"I have no idea how long he is going to play, but I am sure he will do what he can for the team". He is supportive to me and the players, with what he has learnt from cricket. Yet, we can hardly take our eyes off him when he bats.More news: Monty Hall, Host Of "Let's Make A Deal", Dead At 96
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That the legend - or "wily old fox" as Chandimal also called him - did.
Most wickets after 84 Tests.
At Stumps on Day 3, Pakistan were 266-4 with Ali holding fort against a probing spin-attack and are 153 runs adrift of Sri Lanka's first inning total of 419. While most of the other Sri Lankan batsmen succumbed to the extreme conditions, Chandimal continued his marathon innings with a rock-solid defence and a monk-like temperament.
Now it was just a matter of time as to when the last wicket would fall.
"[Niroshan] Dickwella was outstanding in the second innings to get us to the 140 mark".
Sri Lanka took tea on 403-7, then the end came quickly. Sarfraz Ahmed (16*) and Haris Sohail though, played with application and technique to guide them to the break. But that he once won a Test for Sri Lanka using a gimmick variation he had devised at school when playing indoors with a tennis ball, underscores how fascinating his career has been. They had the game sealed when Dilruwan Perera dismissed Yasir Shah. "We all know Pakistan are a very good team".
"Then when the third umpire said it was a no ball, everyone was upset, especially Dilruwan". I was so happy with the remarkable achievement (400 wickets).