Sri Lanka hand over 135-run win to Pakistan

Sri Lanka crumbled under extreme pressure inserted by Pakistan bowlers to hand over a 135 run win to Pakistan to take a 2-1 lead in the five match ODI series’ third match played under lights at the R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday not before an unfortunate incident took place as a spectator closer to the main scoreboard threw some object in to the field where Yasir Shah was fielding which forced the Pakistan captain to take his team to the dressing room for safety.

However, the situation was restored under strict security and play commenced about half an hour later.

Sri Lanka chasing a mammoth victory target of 317 were all out for 181.

After the top Pakistani batsmen contributing generously towards their match winning total, the varied bowling attack comprising pacemen Mohammed Irfan, Rahat Ali, Anwar Ali and spinners Yasir Shah, Shoib Malika and debutant left arm spinner Imad Wasim stuck to their job admirably which proved too much of a force for the Sri Lankan batting.

After Anwar Ali getting the initial breakthrough sending T.M.Dilshan and Kusal Janith Perera with only 33 runs on the board in 7.5 overs it was the case of Sri Lankan batsmen appearing and disappearing from the dressing room. Only Lahiru Thirmanne batted with some purpose scoring 56 off 67 deliveries with four boundaries. Yasir Shah who had an unsuccessful run in the limited overs series came back to his own with an inspired spell of bowling taking 4 for 29 in his 10 overs. Imad Wasim took 2 for 28.

Earlier an extravagant batting display by all the Pakistani batsmen helped them to reach an imposing 316 for 4 in their 50 overs. There were many partnerships and the support batting through out the innings. The total was a commendable one and certainly Sri Lanka were facing a gigantic task of achieving the required runs.

Pakistan were 223 for 3 in the 40th over and scored 93 runs in the last ten overs with Shoib Malik 43 not out utilising 29 deliveries with five fours and Mohammed Rizwan 35 n.o facing 22 deliveries with two fours and a six. Malik and Rizwan added 59 runs for the fifth wicket. Lasith Malinga bowling the last over was hit for 21 runs.z_p14-Sri-Lanka01.jpg

Pakistan electing to bat after winning the toss started tentatively, but held their own fairly well against a moderate attack and gathered momentum later. Their openers skipper Azhar Ali and Mohammed Shehzad seem to be batting with a purpose. After having a good look at the bowling in the initial stages they gradually increased the tempo. In the 6th over Azhar Ali drove Nuwan Pradeep for a four and in the next over Shehzad lofted Mathews over long on for two consecutive boundaries and Pakistan were on their way. In the first six overs Mathews went on the defensive except for wicket- keeper Dinesh Chandimal standing up for Mathew’s medium pace. The Pakistan openers had no difficultly in piling the runs on a typical Kettarama slow pitch. Mathews in an effort to err the batsmen switched his bowlers Nuwan Pradeep, Lasith Mlinga and Sachith Pahtirana. In the first ten overs Pakistan were 55 for no wickets.

Five overs later they had reached 88 with the two openers Azhar Ali and Ahmed Shehzad consolidating and both reaching 40. Lasith Malinga who lacked the fire power in his initial overs changed ends bowling with more vigour got the break through for the Lankans when Shehzad pulled one to mid- wicket and Sachith Pathirana took the catch. By that time the openers had put on 93 runs in 16.3 overs and Ahmed Shehzad’s contribution 44 with four boundaries after facing 54 deliveries.

Azhar Ali, joined by Mohammed Hafeez added a further 31 runs for the second wicket and took the total to 93 to 124. Azhar Ali who opened the innings was approaching his half century at 49. When Hafeez stroked one to mid-wicket and took off for a run, Ali hesitated going for the second run. Ali had gone too far and had no time to make his ground good and Thisara Perera the bowler whipped the bails off as Upul Tharanga’s return came from mid-wicket.

Azhar Ali’s 49 was compiled in 59 deliveries with four hits to the ropes. Mohammed Hafeez playing purely as a batsman, joined by Sarfraz Ahmed, began the rescue act adding 63 runs for the third wicket bringing the total from 124 for 2 to 187 in the 36th over. This was when a slight drizzle drove the players off the field. When play recommenced after a short while, Hafeez who was 49 at the stoppage added five runs before swinging one to midwicket off Sachith Pathirana and Kusal Perera took a tumbling catch. Hafeez had struck four boundaries had faced 64 deliveries. Hafeez and Sarfraz had an association of 72 runs for the third wicket. After their dismissal Shoib Malik and Mohammed Rizwan took Pakistan to 316 for 4 in their 50 overs.