Dubai: Pakistan were so clinical in finishing Sri Lanka off on the fourth day that you wondered if this was the same group of players that is known for losing its way in the final furlong. They remained patient and persistent even when fortune didn't favour them or even when a late partnership held them up. The pitch with variable bounce and turn did the rest for them. Pakistan began the day 76 ahead with nine wickets to take, their bowlers shared the early spoils, and then Saeed Ajmal ran through the tail - no mean feat considering their recent travails with lower orders - to register his third five-for in Tests. The fielders turned up too, diving in desperation for every ball remotely within reach and not missing a single catch, and the batsmen made short work of the 94-run target.
Pakistan attacks are reputed to be mercurial and extravagantly talented, but it is an underrated virtue that stood out today - patience. The biggest test of their patience came last afternoon when Kumar Sangakkara and Tharanga Paranavitana enjoyed good fortune with edges not going to hand, and the good deliveries turning out to be too good to take the edges. The bowlers, though, kept it tight and did not go looking for magic balls. The rewards duly came.