As the wicket deteriorated, though, the spin bowlers started to assert themselves and Yasir Shah's 5-51 contained Sri Lanka's second innings and seemingly put Pakistan in command - with Dickwella's unbeaten 40 helping the visitors mount a rear-guard and eventually match-winning lower-order rally from 101-8 to 138 all out. The veteran responded, "I have no idea". At that point, Sri Lanka had their nose ahead in what was until then a race between tortoises and were looking at a handy lead.
The left-arm spinner went on to take three more wickets and towards the end the equation came down to Pakistan needing 25 runs to and Sri Lanka needing one wicket for a win.
Dickwella then took a rearguard action, shielding the number 10 Lakshan Sandakan from the bowling during a resistance-packed ninth wicket stand of 34 which came in 10.1 overs. Sri Lanka had a nervy wait, but it was merely a stay of execution for the beleaguered hosts. Pakistan were bowled out for 114 runs as Sri Lanka completed a 21 run victory, thereby taking a 1-0 lead in the series.
Herath was the hero with the ball as he took six wickets, while Dilruwan got three and Lakmal claimed one. But given that a wicket has fallen every 37 balls on the fifth day of the previous two Tests in Abu Dhabi, the time saved might perhaps not be needed.More news: The Nintendo Classic Mini SNES Has Been Released And It Looks Incredible
Herath's dismissal of last batsman Mohammad Abbas was his 400th wicket in his 84th Test, becoming the 14th most successful bowler and fifth spinner in the five-day format to reach the milestone.
The Sri Lankan skipper remained undefeated on a punishing 155 to lift Sri Lanka from positions of 61-3 and an overnight 227-4 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
Yasir was the pick of the bowlers with five wickets, while Abbas snapped up two and Hasan Ali, Asad Shafiq and debutant Haris Sohail chipped in with one wicket apiece.
- This is also Sri Lanka's smallest margin of win.More news: Hamilton storms to Malaysia pole, Vettel last on grid
"Looking to the future, yes, he is 39, a little bit old now, but he always tries to do his best".
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.
"Haris Sohail played really well". Conditions are great for batting so, hopefully, we can build a few big partnerships and look to get a first innings lead.
"We knew once we got that much, we have our legend [Herath] here". "I am so happy with the remarkable achievement (400 wickets)".More news: Mars city on Earth