Massive Opening Stand Sets Up Sri Lankan Series Win
Sri Lanka 289-4 (Jayawardene 123, Tharanga 76) beat
Pakistan 288-8 (Umar Akmal 66, Kamran Akmal 45) by six wickets
Third One-Day International, Dambulla
An opening stand of 202 between Upul Tharanga and Mahela Jayawardene set Sri Lanka on the way to a series-clinching six-wicket win over Pakistan in the third One-Day International in Dambulla.
Umar Akmal scored his maiden half-century and his brother made 45 as Pakistan reached a competitive score of 288 for eight but they went 3-0 down in the series as Sri Lanka reached their victory target in the 47th over.
Umar, playing his second match, hit five fours and two sixes in an explosive 65-ball innings but was the only Pakistani to make progress after getting a start.
Kamran, Younus Khan (44), Shahid Afridi (32) and Abdul Razzaq (30) all chipped in without managing to make the bowlers pay, although the Sri Lankans kept it tight with Muttiah Muralitharan and Angelo Mathews grabbing a pair of wickets apiece.
Nuwan Kulasekara, Dilhara Fernando and Thilan Thushara were the other bowlers to pick up a wicket and in the absence of both Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jaysasuriya, Jayawardene opens the batting alongside Tharanga.
It turned out to be the perfect partnership, Jayawardene reaching his 11th century in ODI cricket in making 123 in just 108 balls while Tharanga hit 76 in 96 balls.
Any chances that Pakistan had rested with early wickets and the onslaught of the opening pair effectively put the match beyond the tourists.
Saeed Ajmal had Tharanga trapped in front and then had Thilan Samaraweera (0) caught and bowled but an unbeaten 37 from captain Kumar Sangakkara and 32 from Thilina Kandamby ensured that they had enough in hand to win.
The series now moves on to Colombo, where the R. Premadesa Stadium hosts the fourth ODI on Friday (7th August).
© Cricket World 2009