Pakistan beats Sri Lanka by 5 wickets, wins ODI series 2-0
Pakistan capitalized on a brisk century opening stand between Fakhar Zaman and Abid Ali to beat Sri Lanka by five wickets in the third and final one-day international on Wednesday, clinching the series 2-0.
The first match was washed out due to heavy rain last week before Pakistan won the second game by 67 runs on Monday.
The 123-run partnership between Fakhar (76) and Abid (74) gave Pakistan a solid start in its run-chase. Left-handed Haris Sohail also scored a fine 56 off off 50 balls to guide Pakistan to 299-5 in 48.2 overs.
“Today we got an opportunity to chase a big total and the way Abid played up front it became easy for us in the end,” Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed said.
The Fakhar-Abid stand overshadowed Danushka Gunathilaka’s career-best 133, including 16 fours and six, that had earlier propelled Sri Lanka to 297-9 after the visitors had won the toss and opted to bat.
Abid, who had scored a hundred in his debut ODI against Australia earlier this year and replaced injured Imam-ul-Haq at the top order on Wednesday, smashed 10 boundaries in his 67-ball knock that included some elegant drives.
Abid was finally undone by Wanindu Hasaranga’s googly and fell leg before wicket in the 20th over after Sri Lanka successfully went for a television referral.
Sri Lanka wasted an opportunity to break the stand soon after Abid had completed his half century but substitute fielder Sadeera Samarawickrama’s spilled a diving catch at midwicket in Hasaranga’s first over.
Fakhar hit seven fours and a six but the left-hander also couldn’t capitalize on a dropped chance when on 74 when Gunathilaka couldn’t hold on to an easy catch in the lone slip.
Nuwan Pradeep (2-53) got two wickets in successive overs when he first had Babar Azam lbw (31) and then Fakhar flashed wildly at a short ball and holed out at third man.
“I am really proud of my team, they fought hard and scored 297, but (in bowling) we didn’t execute our plans in the first 10-15 overs,” Sri Lanka captain Lahiru Thirimanne said.
Earlier, Gunathilaka anchored Sri Lanka to a healthy total by featuring in three half-century stands.
Gunathilaka added 88 runs for the second-wicket stand with captain Lahiru Thirimanne (36) before adding further 50 runs with Angelo Perera (13) _ one of the three changes Sri Lanka had made from the second ODI.
But the innings got the real momentum when Gunathilaka put on a better than run a ball 74 runs with debutante wicketkeeper-batsman Minod Bhanuka (36).
Gunathilaka reached his second ODI century off 100 balls when he drove left-arm fast bowler Usman Shinwari to deep point for a single.
Pakistan got a chance to dismiss Gunathilaka but Haris dropped a sitter at point before Mohammad Amir (3-50) had the left-hander clean bowled off a full pitched delivery.
But Dasun Shanaka (43 off 24 balls), who scored a half century in the second ODI on Monday, took charge in the last six overs as Pakistan was let down by sloppy ground fielding.
Wahab Riaz (1-81) was smashed for 37 runs in his last three overs with Shanaka hitting four boundaries and two sixes off the left-arm seamer. Wahab finally deceived Shanaka off a slower last delivery and had him caught at extra cover of the last delivery.
Both teams will now compete in three Twenty20s at Lahore, starting from Saturday.
It is the first time since Sri Lanka’s team bus was attacked in Lahore in 2009 that a foreign team is conducting a two-week tour of Pakistan.
Major teams have avoided the country since the ambush that killed eight people and injured several players.
“It’s very exciting to be here, my first time in Pakistan and I encourage other teams to come and play here,” Thirimanne said.
Credit : Associated Press (AP) | Photo Credit : (AP)