Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, Abu Dhabi December 27, 2013

Chandimal, Mendis edge home in thriller


Sri Lanka 235 for 8 (Chandimal 64*, Junaid 3-31) beat Pakistan 232 (Misbah 51, Malinga 4-57) by two wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

It had been widely noted that Dinesh Chandimal hadn't made an ODI fifty in nearly a year. He chose a thriller to end the drought, guiding Sri Lanka home in the last over, with the No. 10 Ajantha Mendis for company. Sri Lanka went into the Tests with a scoreline of 2-3, but it could easily have been 1-4.

Pakistan made the target of 233 look like 333, despite Kusal Perera's quick 47 at the start. They absorbed those early blows, and came back with venom, their spinners tying Sri Lanka down and their fast bowlers taking crucial wickets. Chandimal and Mendis battled through all that pressure to engineer a win from 195 for 8, their unbroken stand of 40 coming in only 4.1 overs.

It had looked all but over for Sri Lanka when Pakistan nipped out three wickets in three overs, and 38 were needed off 27 balls. Saeed Ajmal, who took two of those three wickets, then seemed to have effectively ended the game when Mendis was given out leg-before first ball in the 46th over. But even as Mendis started to walk away, Chandimal persuaded him to review. Over half of the ball was shown to have landed outside leg stump, and Mendis survived.

Sri Lanka then took nine off Junaid in the 47th over, Chandimal continuing to hustle between the wickets and pulling a four. Next up was Ajmal's last over. Sri Lanka could have opted to play safe and targetted the last 12 deliveries, but Mendis went after Ajmal. And then came the moment where Pakistan let it slip. Mendis hit an airy drive to cover's left, but Sohaib Maqsood could not hold on to the sharp chance. Not only did Mendis escape a second time, he ran two. He then opened up and cracked a reverse-sweep for four off the last ball of the over.

Sri Lanka still needed 18 off 12, but the issue was sealed in the penultimate over. Chandimal got underneath Umar Gul's first delivery and swung it for six over deep midwicket. Not to be outdone, Mendis stepped out and lofted Gul for six over extra cover three balls later. Game over. With two needed off the final three balls, Mendis hit the winning runs with a slap over extra cover and let out a scream.

The match seemed heading for an early finish when Perera pulled four sixes in Sanath Jayasuriya style on his way to 47 off 41. His opening stand with Tillakaratne Dilshan was worth 75 in 12.2 overs but Pakistan got the opening when Perera tried a reverse-sweep Mohammad Hafeez and was lbw.

The spinners found turn and the runs dried up. Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara tried finding release against the pace of Junaid but succumbed. When Junaid pulled up to leave the field, Gul arrived to complete the 31st over, and induced Ashan Priyanjan to edge to the wicketkeeper first ball. Angelo Mathews was given caught behind as well, on review off Anwar Ali, with replays not indicating an inside edge onto pad but the two sounds settling it for third umpire Richard Illingworth.

Sri Lanka teetered on the brink of defeat losing a clutch of late wickets, but Chandimal kept knocking the ball around and held his nerve along with Mendis.

It was a gutting end for Pakistan, especially for Anwar. Drafted in for the final match, he clubbed an unbeaten 41 off 38 to lift Pakistan to a fighting 232 after they had slipped to 194 for 8.

Sri Lanka's attack finally turned up in the series, Lasith Malinga picking up four wickets. Barring the end, Pakistan rarely got going and when they did, they lost wickets to lose whatever momentum they had managed to build.

Misbah-ul-Haq's departure came the next ball after he had swung Malinga for six over deep midwicket to reach his 15th half-century in 32 innings in 2013. The leading ODI run-getter of the year had just showed signs of kicking on from a watchful start but his dismissal and Umar Akmal's in the next over, meant Pakistan's long tail had to bat out the last ten overs.

Coming in at No. 7 in the absence of Shahid Afridi, Anwar managed to do that. He was on 7 when he was put down at slip by Mathews off Mendis in the 42nd over. He was then given out lbw in the 47th over off Malinga, but reviewed successfully, the ball shown to be missing leg stump on replays. He responded by lofting Malinga for successive boundaries in the 49th over, which went for 16.

The late push meant Pakistan had a reasonable score to defend on a track that Mathews, at the toss, had expected to play slow. He had read the pitch superbly, for he opened the bowling with his medium-pace and went on to concede just 26 off ten overs, also dislodging the seemingly irremovable Hafeez for 41 with an incutter.

Hafeez, the Man of the Series, hit back with the ball by removing Perera, but Chandimal, after quite some time, showed again why he is considered such a bright prospect.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Manesh on December 31, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    lol. SL escaped here. With all these legends like Dilshan, Sangakkara, Mathews and Malinga in the team and still they lost the series 3-2 and almost lost this game too!. Funny to see they are coming with few players who are not in the team as excuse!

  • Jagan on December 29, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    World's best batsmen is Hafeez. No question !

  • Pinidiya on December 29, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    In the absence of Afridi, Pakistan spin trio Ajmal, Hafeez & Rehman demonstrated how good they are and exposed the skills needed to tackle them, by immediately halting the brief slow track carnival. They transformed run making limited to true batting skills. Once again, it exposed the need of a genuine opener with solid batting skills to thrive under any condition. Such a partner would help Dilshan to put up long partnerships on a consistent basis. If SL is seriously thinking about 2015 WC, they should promote Thirimanne or Chandi or recall experienced young opener Upul Tharanga (163 ODI innings -5228 Runs - 174* HS - 33.94 Average the e- S/R 73.86 with 13x100 & 28x50). 5th Best batsmen in 2011-WORLD CUP (395 runs - 133 HS - 56.42 Avg - 472 Runs - 83.68 S/R - 2x100 +1x50). He was eliminated even from the squad, a few weeks after making a match winning score of 174 Vs India in WI, July 2013. WHY.....???

  • Dummy4 on December 29, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    Sangakkara doesn't do the number 3 batsman's role well. He alwasys convert easy task to a difficult target.Even in this Sanga wasted 48 balls to score 22 runs. This created a extra pressure to the new comers. For Sri Lanken fortunate he was out at 29th over. Otherwise match would have ended Sanga notout 100 but Sri Lanka 195 All OUT. Well played by Young Chandimal...

  • Dummy4 on December 29, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    I am happy for Chandimal, for he can only improve from here onwards. We have also found new talent in Ashan Priyanjan and Kithruwan Perera that bodes well for Sri Lanka.

  • Dummy4 on December 29, 2013, 8:57 GMT

    Finally, this youngster has answered his critics.. Can't find fault with this talented guy for not scoring a 50+ in last x matches.. He is scoring consistently than others.. He has the technique, temperament, skill to prove himself.. a lineup with

    Kaushal, another youngster, Thirimanne, Chandimal, another youngster, Mathews, spinning hard hitting all-rounder for Bangla series help to build youg team.. No Sanga & Dilshan & Mahela for Bangla series please... Let youngsters come in.. Give JK SILVA a chance as opener in ODIs/Tests.. He is a talent..

  • Heshan on December 29, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    @Former_Player - 100% agree with you. When chandimal was not performing well in last few months some people wanted to eliminate him from the team, & that time he didnt have a permanent place. Now he has got his potential place & playing well.

    Even Thirimanne still has not got his permanent place but he was consistent with his batting. If he's given with his place @ No.3 will definitely reach his maximum..

  • Ali on December 28, 2013, 22:45 GMT

    Why we are blaming our bowling defending 232 on this pitch was a great effort. I blame misbah and umar akmal for losing theirs wickets on crucial time. Misbah got slow fifty and got out. Pakistan team will remain 5/6 under his leadership. Pakistan were definitely 35/40 runs as our tail was exposed in 40th over without any recognized batsman. Umar Akmal is on a nose dive as his career average has plunged from 42- 35 and Pakistan should use him as a opener as he is a utter disappointment at no 6.

  • ejaz on December 28, 2013, 18:00 GMT

    Sri lanka needs two things to be world beaters Greg chappel as their coach.they have great talent but don't have the confidence to execute and paly the natural game sri Lankan style,Greg is the only guy who can do that All the senior players like jayawardena,dilshan and sangakkara should leave the team to give the youngsters a many youngsters have lost their carriers and their confidence while playing under these guys for all these is only in Asian countries that our guys go on forever and don't realize that they need to step down at their peak.if this happens now it will give the youngsters the chance of developing as players

  • RAJIV on December 28, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    True, that SL somewhat redeemed themselves, but questions need to be answered,our bowling currently is very mediocre, we don't have bowlers who can go for the kill, like when PAK was around 180/8, we allowed them to get to 232.Clearly, our strategy of choking the oppositions, by pushing the RR higher or drying up the runs won't work with the current 4 fielder rule outside the circle.We shd always go for wickets and to do that we need penetrative bowlers and not stock bowlers.Lasith must increase his pace back to 140Km/ph and get rid of his pot belly. Further his fielding needs a vast improvement, can't hide him in a ODI with only 4 fielders outside the 30 yards circle.

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