Sri Lanka Take First Win Since Arriving In UAE

Sri Lanka Take First Win Since Arriving In UAE
Sri Lanka Take First Win Since Arriving In UAE
©REUTERS / Action Images

Sri Lanka 235-7 (Tharanga 77, Jayawardene 50) beat
Pakistan 210 (Umar Akmal 91) by 25 runs
Second One-Day International, Dubai

Coach Geoff Marsh celebrated his first win since taking charge as Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 25 runs in the second One-Day International in Dubai to level the five-match series 1-1.

Half-centuries from Upul Tharanga and Mahela Jayawardene helped them post 235 for seven and despite an excellent innings of 91 from Umar Akmal, Pakistan were dismissed for 210 in reply.

Pakistan never properly recovered from being reduced to 11 for three as Lasith Malinga (3-36) and Tissera Perera (2-30) delivered a penetrative opening spell.

Akmal hit eight fours and one six while Shahid Afridi thumped 29 in 14 balls but his dismissal in the 44th over effectively wrapped up the game.

Earlier, Tharanga batted for as long as the entire Sri Lanka team had managed in the opening game, facing 120 balls while Jayawardene hit 50 in 57 balls, making his 62nd ODI half-century to set up a winning score.

Sri Lanka, who won the toss, made a cautious start, Umar Gul and Aizaz Cheema keeping the scoring rate down with the new balls and the pair put on 56 for the first wicket before Tillakaratne Dilshan (28) was bowled by Afridi as he tried to cut.

Kumar Sangakkara (5) was then caught and bowled by Abdul Razzaq and Dinesh Chandimal was bowled by Saeed Ajmal for 15 as Sri Lanka crawled to 94 for three.

It took a defiant partnership of 85 between Tharanga, who made 77, and Jayawardene, to provide a platform and ensure they were not sunk by Pakistan's spinners, as they had been in the openin game.

They were eventually prised apart when Tharanga was caught by Younus Khan off Afridi - who in dismissing Dilshan repeated his trick in the opening game of striking in his first over.

Cheema then had Angelo Mathews caught behind for three but after Jayawardene was bowled by Ajmal immediately after reaching his half-century, vital quick runs were added by Jeevan Mendis (17 not out ) and Perera (13).

Ajmal finished with three for 61 and Afridi two for 35.

Pakistan then endured an awful start as they lost Mohammad Hafeez for four, Imran Farhat for three and Younus without scoring.

Hafeez and Younus were both guilty of a lack of foot movement as they edged to Sangakkara, who moved brilliantly to cling on to the edge offered by Younus while Farhat was trapped in front by Perera.

Akmal decided that counter-attack was the best way to get his side back in the match and with first Misbah-ul-Haq (21) and then Abdul Razaq (11) and Sarfraz Ahmed (24) as his foils it worked.

He faced 102 balls, keeping the pressure on the Sri Lankan fielders and bowlers but Pakistan were dented as Misbah and Sarfraz were trapped in front by Dilhara Fernando and Malinga respectively while Razzaq was needlessly run out.

For them to recover, they desperately needed Akmal to stay to the end, or at least stay long enough to reach a century and get them close but he couldn't manage it, drilling a low catch to Chandimal as Fernando grabbed his second wicket and figures of two for 54.

Afridi then slammed three fours and a six over long off to again throw the match into the balance but Sri Lanka finally tightened their grip when he was run out by a fine piece of anticipation and a direct hit from Dilshan after Ajmal dabbed the ball towards gully.

With Umar Gul already departed - trapped in front by the impressive Perera - it was left to Ajmal (8 not out) and Cheema (6) to try to pull off a miraculous finale and they were unable to do so, adding just 11 for the final wicket before Cheema was run out attempting to take a second run after a misfield.

A direct hit from Sangakkara sent him on his way and sparked scenes of jubilation among the Sri Lankan players as they tasted victory for the first time since August and handed Pakistan coach Mohsin Khan his first defeat since taking on the role.

The third match in the series is on 18th November, also in Dubai.

© Cricket World 2011