Malinga inspires Sri Lanka win over Pakistan

Sling-action paceman Lasith Malinga took three wickets to help Sri Lanka to a 25-run win over Pakistan in the second one day international to level the five-match series 1-1 here on Monday.

Malinga took two wickets in the first over and then returned in his second spell to finish with 3-36 to help dismiss Pakistan for 210 in 46.3 overs after setting them a target of 236 runs at Dubai stadium.

Pakistan won the first match by eight wickets, also played in the Dubai on Friday.

Umar Akmal led the chase with a brilliant 102-ball 91 but Pakistan lost three wickets in succession in the batting power-play, including that of Akmal which saw them lose their way.

Akmal hit one six and eight boundaries — three of them in Dilhara Fernando’s 38th over — before hitting the sixth delivery of the same over straight into the hands of mid-on to end Pakistan’s hopes of winning.

Relief
Earlier the 28-year-old Malinga removed opener Mohammad Hafeez (4) with the third delivery of his first over — his 150th one-day wicket in his 96th match — and then Younis Khan (0) off the fifth — both caught behind.

Thisara Perera, who finished with 2-30, removed Imran Farhat (3) before Akmal steadied the innings through a 64-run fourth wicket stand with Misbah-ul Haq (21) and another 62-run stand for the next wicket with Sarfraz Ahmed (24).

Shahid Afridi, who hit a 14-ball 29, and Saeed Ajmal added a quickfire 30 in four overs before Afridi was run out by Tillakaratne Dilshan, much to the relief of the Sri Lankans.

Dilshan said the win was a great relief.

“Of course, we are relieved. This win was very much needed and now the series is open and we hope to play this type of cricket in the remaining matches,” said Dilshan, who has yet to win a series since taking over in May this year.

Pakistan captain Misbah rued the loss of early wickets.

“We lost three early wickets and although Akmal played well we ended the day on the losing side, so we now know our weaknesses and will come back in the series with some hard work,” said Misbah, who has been praised for his captaincy of the side in the wake of last year’s spot-fixing scandal.

Afridi breakthrough
Earlier Sri Lankan opener Upul Tharanga (77) and Mahela Jayawardene (50) set the foundations for the Sri Lankan total.

Dilshan and Tharanga gave a solid 56-run start to their team by the 12th over when leg-spinner Shahid Afridi, man of the match in the first game for his 3-27, provided Pakistan with a breakthrough.

Afridi bowled Sri Lanka captain Dilshan with a sharp googly after he had threatened to make a big score by hitting four boundaries. He fell for a 40-ball 28.

Kumar Sangakkara made just five.

It became 3-94 when Dinesh Chandimal (15) fell to off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, leaving Tharanga and Jayawardene to give the innings some respectability.

Tharanga hit eight boundaries during his 120-ball knock before he was caught off Afridi.

Jayawardene, who was lacklustre in the Tests as well as in the first one-dayer, hit five boundaries during his 57-ball knock before he was bowled by Ajmal.

Ajmal finished with 3-61 while Afridi bagged 2-35.

The remaining matches in the series will be played in Dubai (November 18), Sharjah (November 20) and Abu Dhabi (November 23). Both teams will also play a Twenty20 in Abu Dhabi on November 25. — AFP

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Shahid Hashmi
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