Sri Lanka 235-8 (Chandimal 64no) beat
Pakistan 232 (Malinga 4-57) by 2 wickets
Fifth One-Day International, Abu Dhabi
Sri Lanka salvaged some pride ahead of the Test series against Pakistan by winning the final One-Day International in Abu Dhabi by two wickets.
A series that began with two close contests and then saw Pakistan clinch it with a brace of convincing wins reverted back to tension as Sri Lanka’s ninth-wicket pair of Ajantha Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal scored 36 off the final four overs to give their side victory.
The result might have been very different had the DRS system not been in operation. Mendis was given out LBW first ball to Saeed Ajmal but successfully reviewed the decision. He went on to do more than just support Chandimal and hit the winning boundary in the final over bowled by Anwar Ali to end on 19 off 14 balls.
Chandimal, meanwhile, finished on 64 off 70 balls and held the innings together after it had threatened to implode. Openers Kushal Perera and Tillakaratne Dilshan had added 75 in little more than 12 overs, but both men fell just shy of half-centuries and wickets tumbled in the middle overs.
113 for one after 24 overs became 195 for eight in the 46th as Junaid Khan (3-31) removed Dilshan (45), Kumar Sangakkara (22) and Sachithra Senanayake (3), and Umar Gul, Anwar Ali and Saeed Ajmal accounted for Ashan Priyanjan (1), Angelo Mathews (8) and Kithuruwan Vithanage (14). Junaid might have proved the match-winner for Pakistan but limped off the field after bowling just one ball of his eighth over. They were also without Shahid Afridi, who has returned home to be with his unwell daughter.
Their innings had earlier been a misfiring affair. The most substantial partnership was the 58 that Mohammad Hafeez shared with his captain Misbah-ul-Haq for the fourth-wicket after openers Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shehzad had both fallen after getting useful starts.
Series triple-centurion Hafeez was bowled by Angelo Mathews (1-26) when on 41, with Umar Akmal then adding a further 41 with Misbah before both departed in quick succession; Akmal for 20 to Ajantha Mendis (1-42) and Misbah to Lasith Malinga for 51.
It took an unbeaten cameo of 41 off 38 balls from Anwar Ali to lift Pakistan to 232. The all-rounder hit two fours and a six but was left stranded with three balls of the innings to go as Suranga Lakmal dismissed Ajmal (8) and Junaid (0) with successive deliveries. Malinga took wickets at different stages of the Pakistan run chase and ended as the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers with four for 57.
The first Test between the two sides begins in Abu Dhabi on 31st December. Pakistan have recalled Mohammad Hafeez after his imperious showing in this series, while Sri Lanka have included young left-arm seam-bowler Vishwa Fernando in their squad. They also welcome back Mahela Jayawardene and Rangana Herath after the pair missed the ODIs for personal reasons.
© Cricket World 2013