Shadab Khan took © Getty Images
Shadab Khan took 2 fr 29 © Getty Images

Winning the toss was the only thing that went Sri Lanka’s way this afternoon. After choosing to bat first, they yet again squandered and slumped to 173 in 43.4 overs. Lahiru Thirimanne, the lone warrior, tried to save the sinking Sri Lankan ship, but Pakistan’s collective bowling effort ruined the visitors’ hopes of coming ashore safely.

Playing in his maiden ODI, Usman Khan made Upul Tharanga his first victim. The ball skidded through the captain’s defence before he could decode it, falling for a five-ball duck. Junaid Khan soon joined the demolition, dismissing the belligerent Niroshan Dickwella for 22.

There, however, was a brief damage control by Sri Lanka. Dinesh Chandimal and Thirimanne survived Pakistan’s disciplined bowling. They played right array of strokes to put a price on their wicket, but it was the haywire running between the wicket that resulted in Chandimal’s wicket. He went for a cautious 16.

Sri Lanka, too, fielded a debutant in the inconsequential match. But unlike Usman, Sadeera Samarawickrama had a forgettable outing. Slow left-arm Imad Wasim sent down a slider to have Sadeera’s defence knocked over. Sri Lanka lost two wickets in 3 balls, as the scorecard read 59 for 4 in 10.5 overs.

How were Sri Lanka going to recover?

Then came the second-highest partnership of the innings. Along with Thirimanne, Milinda Siriwardana added 31 runs. This irked the impatient Sarfraz Ahmed, who decided to bring Hasan Ali back into the attack. The ploy worked, and Sri Lanka soon lost half their side.

Shadab Khan forced himself into the thick of things. With Sarfraz often shuffling the bowlers, it would have been difficult for a leg-spinner like him to find momentum. Sri Lanka anyway further dug their own grave. Shadab had Seekkuge Prasanna and Thisara Perera off consecutive deliveries.

Given he was running of partners, Thirimanne rushed through the gears and reached his 20th half-century. Akila Dananjaya did well to play second fiddle, but Hasan Ali limited his stay to 18 runs. The fighting Thirimanne soon joined his fallen comrades in the pavilion, taking his team to 173 all-out.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 173 in 43.4 overs (Lahiru Thirimanne 62; Hasan Ali 3 for 37) Pakistan

Full scorecard