Mathews Seals Dramatic ODI Series Win For Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 248-8 (Mathews 80no) beat
Pakistan 247-7 (Imran Farhat 56) by 2 wickets
Fifth One-Day International, Colombo
Angelo Mathews scored a brilliant unbeaten half-century to lead Sri Lanka to a 3-1 One-Day International series win over Pakistan with a two-wicket win in the final game in Colombo.
Chasing 248 to win, Mathews hit 80 not out in 76 balls to rescue his side from a position of 175 for seven, where a home victory looked unlikely.
However, he had other ideas, and aided by Jeevan Mendis (19) and Nuwan Kulasekara (10 not out), he clinched the winning runs with two balls to spare by hitting Mohammad Sami for four as Sri Lanka closed on 248 for four in reply to Pakistan's 247 for seven.
He had hit a huge six off the second legitimate ball of the over - Sami opening with a wide - to put Pakistan under pressure an he held his nerve to finish off the game.
Sri Lanka had lost openers Upul Tharaga (2) and Tillakaratne Dishan (10) early as both men were bowled by Sohail Tanvir but were revived through the seventh half-century partnership in ODIs between Kumar Sangakkara (40) and Dinesh Chandimal (54).
However, Pakistan hit back when Shahid Afridi had Sangakkara stumped and Mahela Jayawardene (0) caught and bowled in consecutive deliveries, and when Chandimal fell soon after, the game was in the balance at 135 for five.
Mathews played a gem of an innings, hitting four fours and two sixes on the way to his tenth career half-century and a career-best to boost.
Pakistan, it has to be said, were generous in the field as Sangakkara was dropped early and misfields cost them. Their decision to drop Saeed Ajmal also hurt them late on as Sami struggled, leaking 75 runs in 9.4 overs.
Earlier, Pakistan had made solid progress during their innings thanks to Imran Farhat's 56 and Umar Akmal's unbeaten 55.
Mohammad Hafeez (6) continued his difficult tour by being bowled earlier by Kulasekara but innings of 30 from Azhar Ali, 38 from Asad Shafiq and 32 from Misbah-ul-Haq set them up for a decent score.
Mendis grabbed a couple of vital wickets to peg them back but Akmal struck five fours and a brace of sixes to ensure no side was in complete control of the match.
That remained the case until Mathews finally ended Pakistan's resistance to the delight of the home crowd.
© Cricket World 2012
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