Pakistan clinch series 3-0 with big win at Lahore
Pakistan 257 (Youhana 65, Inzamam 64*) beat Bangladesh 201 for 9 (Sarkar 61, Kapali 61, Gul 5-17) by 42 runs (D/L method)
Umar Gul: took 5 for 17 in Pakistan's comfortable win
Bangladesh never quite got themselves in a position to mount a serious attack on a target of 258, let alone the revised 244 from 44 overs. They lost wickets regularly, and the only contribution of note came from Hannan Sarkar, but even he batted too slowly to cause the Pakistanis any worry. Umar Gul, improving with every game, picked up a five-wicket haul, scalping 5 for 17 and sent Bangladesh spiraling to a 42-run loss. Pakistan's total of 257, achieved on the back of half-centuries from Yousuf Youhana and Inzamam-ul-Haq proved more than sufficient. With this win, their 300th in one-day internationals, Pakistan took an unassailable 3-0 lead in this five-match series.
Bangladesh got off to the worst possible start in pursuit of 258. The lights failed twice at Lahore, but no overs were lost on the first occasion. Bangladesh were rocked by strikes either side of the first stoppage. Mohammad Ashraful (1) edged the fourth ball of the innings, from Gul, straight to Inzamam at first slip (1 for 1). Soon there was another stoppage, when one light tower failed completely and six overs were lost. Bangladesh were then set a revised target of 244 from 44 overs.
Gul then struck again in the fifth over before Bangladesh could settle down, removing Rajin Saleh. A full delivery induced the drive and the resultant nick was easily pouched by Kamran Akmal. Saleh (4) had batted well in the Test series, but Bangladesh were in disarray at the fall of his wicket (9 for 2).
When play resumed after the second stoppage Habibul Bashar (14) compounded Bangladesh's problems, top-edging a pull to third man (42 for 3), and Gul had his third wicket.
The required run-rate climbed steadily. Sarkar, who scored a patient 61, was keen to play out the overs rather than go for the target. When Sarkar attempted a late surge after reaching his half-century, he was undone, playing down the wrong line to Shoaib Malik. His off stump was pegged back and Bangladesh were in trouble at 137 for 4.
Mushfiqur Rahman was run out by a good bit of outfielding from Gul and Alok Kapali's valiant 61 from 70 balls came to an end when he clipped Gul to Younis Khan at midwicket (175 for 6). Khaled Mahmud (16) struck two boundaries before skying the ball high in the air, attempting an ambitious heave off Shabbir Ahmed (183 for 7).
Gul (5 for 17) then completed a hugely profitable outing when he shattered Mashrafe Mortaza's stumps to pick up his fifth wicket (186 for 8). From here on, the game held interest merely for the scorers, who in the end noted that Pakistan had won by 42 runs by the Duckworth/Lewis method.
As at Multan and Faisalabad, Pakistan's innings, earlier in the day, revolved largely around the two men in form - Youhana and Inzamam. Youhana in particular was overtly aggressive. After Mohammad Hafeez edged Tapash Baisya to Khaled Mashud (13 for 1), Youhana came out seemingly intent on tearing the cover off the ball. He thick-edged the ball to third man more than once and narrowly escaped two chances. After Mohammad Rafique was introduced into the attack, Youhana predictably danced down the track and attempted a heave over long-on. He missed, and so did Mashud, who fumbled the stumping chance.
Youhana's second reprieve came when Yasir Hameed tapped a ball around the corner to short fine leg and then refused to run even as Youhana came tearing down the length of the pitch. The throw, though, was wild, and that gave Yasir the time to come out of his reverie and make his ground at the non-striker's end in time.
Both Youhana and Yasir struck some glorious fours, driving elegantly through the off side. When Yasir fell (90 for 2) - skying a catch to Baisya at long-on - Pakistan slowed down, and Bangladesh's spinners, and Rafique in particular, pinned the batsmen to the crease. Runs dried up, but to their credit, Youhana and Younis Khan played intelligently, refusing to lose their head out of impatience.
Youhana, in fact, fell to laziness rather than anything else. Rahman's gentle delivery outside the off stump was nothing special, but Youhana prodded at it and inside-edged the ball onto his stumps (127 for 3).
As the final overs approached, batsmen fell rapidly in the pursuit of quick runs, and only Inzamam, swatting full-tosses over square-leg for six, lasted the course of the final 10 overs, steering Pakistan to a total only 13 short of what he said he was aiming for when he won the toss in the afternoon.