Pakistan's spinner Saeed Ajmal took five crucial wickets and was awarded man of the match [AFP] 

Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal grabbed 5-68 and opener Mohammad Hafeez hit an undefeated 59 on Saturday as Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by nine wickets with a day to spare in the second Test.

Pakistan lead the three-match series 1-0.

Sri Lanka, trailing by 164 after the first innings, were bowled out for 257 after starting the fourth day on 88-1 at Dubai International Stadium.

Opener Tharanga Paranavitana topscored with 72 while Angelo Mathews contributed an unbeaten 52.

Man of the match Ajmal was well supported by left-arm seamer Junaid Khan (2-38) and left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman (2-65).

Pakistan, set 94 to win, cruised to victory in fading light on the back of Hafeez's half century with five fours and two sixes off 64 balls.

Azhar Ali, who scored a century in the first innings, hit 29 not out in an unbroken second wicket stand of 77 and scored the winning runs.

Turning the screw

Earlier, Pakistan's bowlers stifled Sri Lanka in the morning session, tightening their grip with the wickets of the experienced trio of Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and captain Tillakaratne Dilshan before lunch.

Rehman claimed the key breakthrough by removing Sangakkara for 30 in the fourth over of the day and ending the second wicket stand of 73. The former captain was given out lbw by umpire Tony Hill prodding forward to a ball that
turned appreciably.

Jayawardene, closing in on 10,000 Test runs, endured a testing time on a deteriorating pitch and was eventually bowled around his back as he swept at Ajmal. Jaywardene compiled only 5 from 34 balls in just under an hour.

Three runs later, it was 116-4 as captain Dilshan (3) was trapped in front by Junaid Khan.

           Sri Lankan batsman Paranavitana batted for five-and-a-half hours but fell for 72 [AFP]

Junad also appeared unlucky not to have claimed Mathews lbw after the right-hander played no stroke to a big inswinger.

Pakistan kept up their momentum in the second session, prying out Paranavitana and removing Kaushal Silva cheaply.

Paranavitana, who batted for five-and-a-half hours, prodded forward to Ajmal and edged low to Younis Khan at first slip at 141-5.

Mathews and Kaushal Silva erased the deficit but Silva fell soon afterwards to Juniad with the second new ball after he miscued a pull and Ajmal took an easy catch at mid-on at 166-6.

But Mathews and Prasad provided some spirited resistance in a seventh wicket stand of 56. Prasad dominated, cracking four fours in 33 off 48 deliveries. But once he was bowled by a straighter ball from Rehman, the end came swiftly.

Ajmal claimed Rangana Herath (15), who hit to cover off the leading edge, and added Chanaka Welegedara (4) and Suranga Lakmal (8) to claim his fourth five-wicket haul in Tests.

Welegedara was lbw while Lakmal played inside the line of a doosra and was bowled.

Pakistan lost Taufeeq Umar in their pursuit of 94, but Hafeez and Azhar provided the impetus to ensure victory was achieved with a day to spare.

The third and final Test begins in Sharjah on Thursday.

Source: AP