Sri Lanka take lead despite late drama
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Ground:Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, Dambulla
Scorecard:Sri Lanka v Pakistan
Player:Umar Gul, Mohammad Aamer, Abdul Razzaq, M Muralitharan, KC Sangakkara
Event:Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2009

DateLine: 30th July 2009


The trouble that Pakistan had with their batting continued into the one day format as Pakistan failed to chase down a par score on a pitch which offered assistance to the bowlers. Sri Lanka after being 160 for 6 in 43 overs added 72 in the last seven overs off which 54 came in five overs of batting powerplay. Pakistan in reply could not forge together any partnership of substance as the Sri Lankan bowlers simply applied pressure to choke the life out of the chase.


Younis Khan had won the toss and seeing the pitch with some tinge of grass, promptly elected to field first. Razzaq immediately got Jayasuriya to nick one behind but Akmal put the chance down. For the next dropped chance Razzaq had only himself to blame as he put down a return catch which could be described as a sitter. Jayasuriya found the cover fence and it looked like he was going to make the Pakistani team repent for the drop chance when he unerringly found the third man going for his favourite slash to gift his wicket away. At the other end, Upul Tharanga was in poor touch, beaten repeatedly outside his off stump with feet scarcely moving. Razzaq got one to cut sharply away from Tharanga in the process getting the outside edge to Akmal to end his misery.


Sangakkara and Jayawardene had added 48 in quick time. Sangakkara found the boundary ropes couple of times and just when it seemed that he was getting into the cruise mode he was undone by a Saeed Ajmal delivery that surprised him with extra bounce which he merely lobbed to point. Thilan Samaraweera couldn't do much on his return to the side, miscuing a pull to mid-on, and when Jayawardene was caught short going for a non-existent second run by Younis Khan's flat throw from midwicket. Mathews and Kulasekara took the available singles and doubles to keep the scoreboard moving and then when the loose offering came their way they duly deposited it to the boundary.


Once the powerplay was taken, Sri Lanka lost Kulasekara but that brought in Muralitharan to the crease. He was immediately got to work as he found the boundary ropes almost every over. He took 15 off over over from Gul and then proceeded to get another 15 off a over from Afridi. When he was finally cleaned up by Aamer, he had blazed himself to crucial 32 of 15 balls, which in the end proved costly for Pakistan.


Pakistan in reply, was never able to find the needed momentum to overhaul the target of 233. Kulasekara started it off, tormenting Shoaib Malik outside his off stump. The odd ball would move away, other would nip back and force him into the most awkward contortions and it was evident that Malik was very uncomfortable with opening the innings. Malik finally played down the wrong line to one that straightened. Akmal also played down the wrong line to one that deviated little, and saw his stumps pegged back. Yousuf too with his sluggish batting display showed that he was too rusty to play the shorter version and when he nicked one from Kulasekara to Sangakkara, trouble was brewing in the Pakistani camp.


Afridi clubbed Malinga over midwicket for six, but a lazy shot off Thushara ended his innings at 27, while Younis Khan flayed Thushara down to Mathews at third man. When Misbah-ul-Haq followed his illustrious colleagues back into the pavilion with a return catch to Muralitharan, the innings was completely off track. Fawad Alam and Razzaq courageously tried to resurrect the innings, but the asking rate began to climb up and Alam was undone by the arm ball from Jayasuriya.


When all hope seemed lost, tailenders Gul and Aamer put on 62 for the ninth wicket to add some twist to the tale. It seemed to be getting out off hand when Jayawardene was able to run out Aamer and the Malinga with his yorker cleaned up Gul to fold up the Pakistani innings.


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