Dec 22, 2013
Led by the batting brilliance of Mohammad Hafeez, who scored 140 not out off 136 balls and took two wickets to bag the Man of the Match prize, and a returning Umar Gul, Pakistan crushed the Lankans by 113 runs. In reply to Pakistan’s massive 326 for five, Sri Lanka got bundled out for 213 in 44.4 overs. Tillakaratne Dilshan was the only Sri Lankan batsman to cross the fifty mark, as he top scored for them with 59 off 62 balls.
The returning Umar Gul ended the day with a match-winning three for 19 off 5.4 overs.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan seemed to have been batting on two completely contrasting tracks in the same match. In reply to Pakistan’s mammoth 326 for five in the first innings, Sri Lanka’s batting cards fell in a heap.
They couldn’t show any considerable resistence towards a bowling line-up which seemed fired up by the return of their spearhead, Umar Gul. And Gul was the pick of the bowlers against a top-order which failed to lay the foundation for a high run-chase.
Gul, opening the bowling with Junaid Khan, sent opener Kusal Perera packing as he induced him into an expansive drive, only to edge it to Ahmed Shahzad at backward point. He then got the No 3, Dimuth Karunaratne for a duck in just the second ball he faced. While Dilshan scored at almost a run-a-ball from one end, he lacked support as wickets kept tumbling from the other end.
Skipper Angelo Mathews put up some resistence by scoring 44 off 51 balls, before falling to Hafeez. In all, Pakistani spinners accounted for half of the Sri Lankan wickets.
Put into bat, Pakistan continued their brilliant batting form into the third One-Day International against Sri Lanka, as they set the Lankans a target of 327 at Sharjah. They began cautiously again, watching off the new ball, before stepping on the pedal in the second half of their innings.
Hafeez commanded their batting with a sublime 140 not out off 136 balls. Continuing his rich vein of form, Hafeez struck his second ton of the series, with the first one coming at Sharjah as well.
The Sharjah surface was rolled to be a belter once again, as most of the Sri Lankan bowlers struggled to take the crucial early wickets. Pakistan had lost one a single wicket by the end of the 30th over. Hafeez, along with Shahzad tormented the Sri Lankan bowlers during their 160-run partnership.
Hafeez has put some serious thought into his batting after a disastrous series against South Africa, and it has been evident during the last three ODIs. He scored just one boundary in his first 36 balls, and then went on to finish things off by hitting seven fours and a six off the last 26 balls. Some conversion that was.
Nuwan Kulasekara got some swing off the new ball initially, but none of the Sri Lankan bowlers really threatened the Pakistani batsmen at crease. Pakistani skipper, Misbah-ul-Haq played an unusual cameo lower down the order, a 26 ball 40 which featured three fours and two sixes.
In the death overs of the Pakistani innings, Sri Lankan tried to keep things under control by bowling yorkers, but missed the blockhole more often than not. Lasith Malinga was the only bowler to finish with an economy rate of below six.
Pakistan 326 for 5 in 50 overs (Mohammad Hafeez 140*, Ahmed Shahzad 81; Thisara Perera 2 for 58) beat Sri Lanka 213 in 44.4 overs (Tillakaratne Dilshan 59, Angelo Mathews 44; Umar Gul 3 for 19) by 113 runs.
Man of the Match: Mohammad Hafeez
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