Hasan Ali became the highest wicket-taker in 2017    Getty Images
Hasan Ali became the highest wicket-taker in 2017 Getty Images

From the end of Powerplay to the second half of death overs, almost every boundary that Sri Lanka hit was, as the commentators often say, a welcome boundary. Such boring was their approach that the crowd was forced to shake a leg in a way that was reminiscence of the Garba an Indian dance form. Meanwhile, two children were indulged in finishing a packet of wafers that was as tall as them. Whether they finished it or not remained a mystery.

Enough digressing, you must say. Sri Lanka managed 208 in the third ODI against Pakistan at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.

The track was flat, and the outfield was as fast as you get in the subcontinent. Ask an out-of-form batsman to play on it, and he will find his lost paradise. Such easy was the pitch to bat on.

There was no momentum in the innings. Sri Lanka remained in the shell, showing no signs of rising above Pakistan. Captain Upul Tharanga, amidst a mediocre batting display, played the only innings worth watching, while the others put the viewers to sleep. It was for his 61-run knock that Sri Lanka could post a modest total.

Pakistani bowlers were sensible (surprised, are you?). All they had to do was bowl straight. Sri Lanka made sure they squandered, plummeting from 102 for 1 to 141 for 6.

Thisara Perera, who had dropped Sarfraz Ahmed in the Champions Trophy, lifted Sri Lanka from the ruins. Barring Tharanga, he was the only Sri Lankan who played with purpose. Another notable player from the ICC flagship event attained a new high: Hasan Ali, player of the tournament, became the quickest Pakistani to 50 ODI wickets, also becoming the highest wicket-taker in 2017. He ended with figures of 5 for 34.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 208 in 48.2 overs (Upul Tharanga 61; Hasan Ali 5 for 34; Shadab Khan 2 for 37) vs Pakistan.

Full scorecard