Oshada Fernando stars as Sri Lanka complete 3-0 whitewash over Pakistan
Lahore: Inexperienced Sri Lanka completed a 3-0 clean-sweep of their Twenty20 series over world number one Pakistan on Wednesday with a 13-run victory in Lahore. Chasing a modest 148-run target, Pakistan were on course for victory with Haris Sohail's 50-ball 52 with four boundaries and a six but leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga turned the tables with 3-21 to restrict Pakistan to 134-6 in 20 overs. Hasaranga had Sohail stumped in the 16th over and then dismissed Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed (16-ball 17) in the 18th to give Sri Lanka victory on a match day designated as Pink Day for breast cancer awareness.
Oshada Fernando struck a brilliant 48-ball 78 with three sixes and eight boundaries -- the highest by a Sri Lankan player on T20I debut -- to lift Sri Lanka to 147-7 in their 20 overs. Jehan Mubarak and Danushka Gunathilaka -- who both scored 46 each -- had held the previous record for most runs on Twenty20 debut for Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's victory -- their first-ever Twenty20 series whitewash -- was achieved despite missing ten of their top players, including regular Twenty20 skipper Lasith Malinga, who refused to tour Pakistan over security fears.
But that did not hurt Sri Lanka as they staged a remarkable comeback after losing the one-day series 2-0 by winning the first two matches of the T20 series by 64 and 35 runs respectively. Before this, Pakistan's only Twenty20 whitewash was at the hands of England in United Arab Emirates in 2015. Pakistan's start was once again disastrous as they lost aggressive opener Fakhar Zaman off the first ball of their innings, bowled by Kasun Rajitha for nought. Babar Azam (32-ball 27) and Sohail added 76 for the second wicket but Sri Lanka applied the brakes as boundaries dried up.
Iftikhar Ahmed hit a six and a boundary in his 17 but targets of 37 off the last two overs and 28 in the last were beyond Pakistan. Earlier, Sri Lanka rode on a brilliant maiden half century by Fernando who held the innings together after Sri Lanka lost two wickets for 28 runs in four overs. They then slumped to 58-4 with Bhanuka Rajapaksa, the star of the second match, falling for just three. Fernando repaired the damage with a fighting 76-run stand for the fifth wicket with skipper Dasun Shanaka who made 12.
Pakistan were once again sloppy in the field, dropping as many as four catches while Sarfaraz spurned a stumping chance behind the wicket. Paceman Mohammad Amir, who went wicket-less in the first two matches, finished with 3-27. Sri Lanka's tour furthered Pakistan's efforts to revive international cricket in the country, suspended after terror attacks on the same team in March 2009. Since then Pakistan have hosted a World XI, Sri Lanka (both in 2017) and the West Indies last year.
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