Sri Lanka clinch one-day series against Pakistan
Gujranwala, Feb 16: Sri Lanka took an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match one-day international cricket series against Pakistan after winning the second game by 34 runs at the Jinnah Stadium here on Wednesday in front of a capacity crowd.
Skipper Sanath Jayasuriya led from the front with a superb all-round performance which earned the Man-of-the-Match award. He struck a splendid 65 to lay foundation of Sri Lanka's impressive score of 263 for six in 50 overs, and then took two wickets for 30 as Pakistan were bowled out for 229 in 45.1 overs.
The last match of the one-day series, at the Qadhafi Stadium in Lahore on Saturday (Feb 19), will now only be of academic interest.
Benefiting from the first use of the wicket when Pakistan captain Saeed Anwar won the toss and opted to field for the second time running, the Sri Lankan batsmen prospered against some wayward bowling.
Besides Jayasuriya, the in-form Marvan Atapattu also scored a fine knock of 57, followed by useful contributions from wicket-keeper Romesh Kaluwitharana (32), Chaminda Vaas (34) and Russel Arnold (36 not out).
Pakistan, who were docked one over because of a slow over-rate, once again failed to cope against the disciplined Sri Lankan bowling, which was backed up by brilliant fielding.
A gallant knock of 68, the day's top score, by Yousuf Youhana was not enough to pull the Pakistan team out of trouble. Even a late charge by Wasim Akram, who hit four glorious sixes to electrify the crowd, proved a futile attempt by Pakistan to level the series.
Wasim Akram hammered 34 off 29 balls and twice in succession hoisted off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan out of the ground. Arnold and Pramodya Wickremasinghe were the other bowlers to suffer at Akram's hands.
The rest of Pakistan batting was disappointing as only Aamir Sohail (23 off 32 balls), Saeed Anwar (17 off 13 balls), Younis Khan (28 off 44 balls), Moin Khan (15) and Abdul Razzaq (14) managed to reach double figures.
Saeed Anwar failed again when he tried to flick Vaas and was caught by Upul Chandana on the long-leg boundary. Imran Abbas was beaten by a direct throw from Muralitharan at the bowler's end.
After being well set, Aamir Sohail fell to a catch at square-leg by Tillekeratne Dilshan off Wickremasinghe. That left the home team in all sorts of trouble at 50 for three.
Youhana and Younis repaired the innings to some extent by adding 68 runs for the fourth-wicket. However, at the total of 118, Younis played across to a sharply turning Muralitharan delivery and was bowled through the gate.
Jayasuriya, who bowls brisk left-arm spin, clean bowled Moin Khan with a full-length ball that hit the base of the off-stump as Pakistan crashed to 143 for five.Thereafter, the wickets kept falling at regular intervals.
With the total on 176, Abdul Razzaq drove at a widish delivery from Vaas and but only succeeded in getting an outside edge. Azhar Mahmood, who was playing in his game of the series, fell cheaply when he spooned an easy catch to Dilshan at short mid-wicket off the bowling of leg-spinner Chandana.
Pakistan's hopes were finally shattered when Youhana's steady knock came to an end when Wickremasinghe, who was brought on for a new spell by Jayasuriya, induced an uppish stroke with the first ball. Chandana, fielding at mid-off, held a simple catch just above his head. Youhana faced 87 deliveries and hit only two fours.
Saqlain was bowled by Jayasuriya for three.
Wasim Akram's dazzling knock proved a final flicker of hope but he was bowled by Muralitharan at the start of the 46th over.
Earlier, Sri Lanka owed their formidable total to brilliant half-centuries by opener Jayasuriya and Atapattu. The Pakistan team captain Saeed Anwar made the mistake of putting in the opposition into bat although the pitch looked tailor-made for batting.
Pakistan's pace bowlers failed to extract any life from the pitch or benefit from the early morning moisture.
Shoaib Akhtar, who was also making a comeback, was forced to leave the field with a groin problem after sending down five expensive overs.
A large crowd enjoyed the stroke-play of the visiting batsmen, especially Jayasuriya, Vaas and Kaluwitharana. All the four Pakistani pacemen, Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar, Abdur Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood, and the spinners Saqlain Mushtaq and Aamir Sohail failed to make any impression on the Sri Lankans.
Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana laid the foundation of the innings by putting on 84 runs for the first-wicket off 93 balls. The Pakistan team's fielding also left much to be desired, although youngsters like Imran Nazir (substituting for Shoaib Akhtar) and Imran Abbas thrilled the spectators with some neat work.
Abdur Razzaq finally broke the partnership when Kaluwitharana was brilliantly held by wicket-keeper Moin Khan, who dived to his right.
In fact, Moin excelled behind the stumps by holding two catches and brought off a stumping.
Jayasuriya departed after adding 37 runs for the second wicket stand with Atapattu, who has been batting consistently during this tour. Jayasuriya tried a cross-bat shot off Saqlain Mushtaq but only got a top edge to give Moin a simple catch. The second wicket fell at the total of 121. Jayasuriya hit nine elegant boundaries in his 115-minute stay at the crease in which he faced 78 balls.
At the total of 147, Mahela Jayawardena (9) was smartly stumped by Moin as the batsman charged at Aamir Sohail but missed the line.
Vaas, promoted in the order to bolster the scoring rate, hit 34 off 33 deliveries which included two sixes over long-on in consecutive overs of Aamir Sohail. The left-hander tried a similar shot on the fifth ball of Wasim Akram's seventh over but mistimed it and the bowler held a brilliant two-handed catch over his head on his follow-through.
Atapattu's composed innings, which followed his unconquered 199 at Karachi, was terminated by a fine catch on near the deep mid-wicket boundary by Youhana off Saqlain.
Indika de Saram struck 12, including a six off Saqlain, in his brief stay at the wicket before he was run out while backing up at the bowler's end. A firm drive from Arnold was half stopped by Akram on his follow through but the ball crashed into the stumps with the non-striker de Saram out of his ground.
Left-handed Arnold also played his part well in the later stages of the innings by lashing an unbeaten 36 off 29 balls.