Sri Lanka make clean sweep of one-day series
Lahore, Feb 19: Sri Lanka outplayed Pakistan comprehensivelyin the third and final one-day international by a decisive margin of 104 runs at the Qadhafi Stadium here on Saturday to complete a clean sweep of the limited-overs series.
It was an abject surrender by Pakistan, who failed to click as a team once again and allowed Sri Lanka gain their first 3-0 wipe out against them. Chasing an achievable 242 for a face-saving victory, Pakistan crashed to an abysmal 137 all out in 39.3 overs.
On an easy-paced pitch, which got easier to bat on with the passage of time, Pakistan's batsmen were out to atrocious selection of strokes. Skipper Saeed Anwar, who top-scored with 30, was out to a fine, tumbling catch by Russel Arnold at short mid-wicket while attempting a flick.
For the third time in the series, Saeed called correctly at the spin of the coin and like in the previous two games, elected to field first. His decision once again proved disastrous in the end as none of the Pakistani batsmen batted with application, determination and concentration.
Sri Lankan bowlers bowled with controlled hostility and the fielders backed them up with brilliant display all the way. Lanky left-arm paceman Nuwan Zoysa, playing in his first game of the series, made the early inroads by disposing of opener Aamir Sohail and Younis Khan in his opening spell. Sohail was caught behind off a leading edge while Younis shuffled right across to straight delivery to leave Pakistan in tatters at 48 for three.
Two foolish run outs soon after only added to Pakistan's misery. Debutante Faisal Iqbal, included in place of Imran Abbas, tried to steal a cheeky single as Yousuf Youhana prodded defensively but, a direct throw from mid-on by Mahela Jayawardena broke the stumps and Faisal was gone for four. Youhana was himself run out soon afterwards when Jayasuriya hit the stumps with another direct throw from mid-off. With five down for 60 and no possibility of an injured Azhar Mahmood batting, shadows of another home defeat loomed large.
Moin Khan and Abdur Razzaq tried hard to stabilise the innings but perished after adding 36 for the sixth wicket. Moin was deceived by Jayasuriya while Abdur Razzaq (22 off 28 balls) was bowled round his leg by Muttiah Muralitharan with an off-break which pitched well outside the off-stump and flattened his leg-stump at the total of 112.
Wasim Akram tried to force the pace with 29 off 32 deliveries but by then the match was almost over. Saqlain Mushtaq fell lbw to Chaminda Vaas. Jayasuriya rattled Wasim's stumps with a straight ball as the former Pakistan captain jumped out of his crease for another big hit.
Earlier, Marvan Atapattu again played the role of a sheet-anchor, hitting a polished knock of 77 off 91 deliveries with four boundaries to bolster the Sri Lankan inningsto a decent score. When Atapattu was caught by Saeed Anwar at short-cover, Sri Lanka were reached 196 for five.
Vice-captain Mahela Jayawardena hit a stylish 43 off 64 balls with four fours) until Saqlain Mushtaq deceived him in flight and gave a return catch to the off-spinner. Atapattu and Jayawardena were involved in a third-wicket stand of 84 after Sri Lanka were reduced to 64 for two. Had fast-medium bowler Abdul Razzaq (four for 36) and paceman Wasim Akram (three for 38) not bowled well, the Sri Lankan team would have put up a big total.
Wasim Akram got the first wicket when Jayasuriya was superbly held in the slips by Azhar Mahmood. Unfortunately, Azhar was unable to take much part in the game after suffering a recurrence of a back injury. He bowled just one over before going off. Wasim Akram, who claimed the prized wicket of Atapattu, mopped up the tail along with Abdur Razzaq.
Razzaq trapped Romesh Kaluwitharana (35 off 53 balls with four fours) leg before wicket. Nadeem Ghauri, making his debut as an international umpire, raised his finger after some deliberation. In fact, Nadeem Ghauri was involved in all the leg before decisions during the match.