Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Pallekele June 9, 2012

Perera, Dilshan deliver easy Sri Lanka win


Sri Lanka 280 for 4 (Dilshan 119*, Jayawardene 53) beat Pakistan 204 (Azhar 96, Perera 6-44) by 76 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Tillakaratne Dilshan batted through the innings with a century to take Sri Lanka to 280. Azhar Ali looked set to match Dilshan's feat and nearly reached his maiden ODI ton. Ultimately though, it was Thisara Perera's six-wicket haul, aided by his own brilliant fielding, which helped Sri Lanka level the series after a disappointing showing on Thursday. Perera's efforts were all the more special because four of those wickets included top-order victims. In the process, he bagged the overall best bowling figures against Pakistan in one-dayers.

Pakistan gambled with their line-up by playing only five specialist batsmen in both games. It didn't matter in the first ODI, where they were chasing a paltry target. However, in their chase of 281, their over-reliance on Azhar bit them. As the required-rate increased, Azhar's own strike-rate dipped. None of the others passed 50, the next highest being 27.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, didn't gamble with theirs. Thursday's batting meltdown necessitated a reshuffle and the change gave the hosts a greater sense of security. It was imperative that at least one of the seniors - who were struggling for consistency - batted through. Upul Tharanga returned to the position he's best known for, while Dinesh Chandimal was sandwiched between two experienced players to ease the pressure off his shoulders. It led to an efficient batting effort, led by Dilshan, who dropped anchor and batted with the intention of playing 50 overs. The foundation he provided allowed the likes of Mahela Jayawardene, dropping to No.5, the freedom to innovate in the slog overs.

A drier pitch, devoid of the moisture present in the first game, made life easier for the batsmen, allowing them to play across the line. Two boundaries whipped off the pads early on gave Dilshan the confidence to settle in and take on a leadership role at the top of the order. After looking like a walking wicket in the first ODI, he was more sure of his off stump and was prepared to leave deliveries angling across him. Sohail Tanvir troubled him with a few that beat the bat, but he played out his spell and cashed in when debutant left-arm seamer Rahat Ali strayed too wide of the off stump.

Dilshan shared shared stands of 37 with Tharanga and 47 with Kumar Sangakkara. Chandimal and Dilshan ensured the run-rate didn't drop after that dismissal, knocking the singles and scoring boundaries when the spinners, in particular, erred in length. A sweep off Afridi brought up Dilshan's fifty.

Afridi trapped Chandimal lbw but there was no respite for Pakistan as what followed was Sri Lanka's most productive partnership, of 86. Jayawardene, no stranger to unconventional shots, unsettled the spinners with a delicate late cut, a Dilscoop, a paddle sweep, reverse sweep and a conventional sweep.

Dilshan nudged and punched the singles during the stand, allowing Jayawardene to play the aggressor. Though Dilshan slowed down after getting his century, it didn't cause a slowdown because Perera tonked two fours and two sixes in a 14-ball 24 to lift Sri Lanka to a challenging score.

Pakistan got more than what would have expected from a makeshift opener. Azhar did well to shrug off the tag of being a 'Test-match player'. It was classical batsmanship on view as Azhar relied purely on timing to fetch his boundaries. With minimal foot movement, he managed to drive on the up and yet place it in the gaps through the off side. The pace at which he scored would have surprised Sri Lanka. The short of a length deliveries were punched off the back foot, while the fuller ones were driven through the covers.

Sri Lanka's seamers may have failed to make early inroads but Perera more than made up for that. He sent back Mohammad Hafeez off his first ball, flinging himself in the opposite direction of his follow-through to pull off a return catch. He then had Younis Khan nicking to the wicketkeeper and later sparked Pakistan's slide by trapping Misbah-ul-Haq lbw.

The boundaries dried up for Pakistan after the 20th over. Misbah's departure left the inexperienced Azhar marshaling the unpredictable Umar Akmal and Afridi, both of whom failed to turn the game around. Perera had Akmal caught behind - a doubtful dismissal - and then got rid of Gul to register his third five-wicket haul. The game was all but over when Azhar's leg stump was taken to pieces by a Nuwan Kulasekara yorker. Sri Lanka's emphatic comeback has set the series up nicely for the last three games in Colombo.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aamir on June 12, 2012, 20:37 GMT

    @Sports4Youth I'm happy to hear that you agree with my XI, but considering the NO. 9, I would've re-shuffled the XI if there wasn't a lack of batsmen for the ODI squad. I would've squeezed in Abdul Razzaq, Hammad Azam or Haris Sohail. If only Nasir Jamshed wasn't injured then the T20 and ODI series would've have been completely different.

  • Deepak on June 12, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    @nilankaraja - O really? Then you tell me how many times in the last two years has Pakistan chased down a total of 230+ in ODIs successfully? My guess in once or twice and that too against some sub-standard teams like NZ or Bangladesh.

  • Dummy4 on June 12, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    pak will loose the series take my word

  • Cricket on June 12, 2012, 12:21 GMT

    Totally agreed with the team suggested by ExplicitPlatinum except one: - . The XI should be 1.) Mohammad Hafeez 2.) Azhar Ali 3.) Umar Akmal 4.) Asad Shafiq 5.) Misbah ul haq (C) 6.) Shahid Afridi 7.) Sarfraz Ahmed (WK) 8.) Umar Gul 9.) Batsman or batting all-rounder 10.) Saeed Ajmal 11.) Rahat Ali ... I dont see the need of playing 6 bowlers when you have the weekest batting in the world.

  • my2ndself on June 12, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    Yet another defeat, Green Shirts maintained history after failing in chase of score beyond 250.

    Dav & Pak Crick punters are trying to establish an ODI side with 05 specialist bowlers, besides the presence of professor, above average sixth bowler in a line up even better than some quickies. The composition even India (the batting power house) have never practiced regularly.

    So, Green shirts must understand that they can't rely on Umar Akmal and Afridi in the middle order, moreover Afridi is total wastage at No. 6 and Green shirts must no pin up hopes on him, therefore batting order must be re-shuffled, so as to filter out Avg and below average batsmen in a lineup.

    1. Azhar Ali 2. Afridi 3. Younus 4. Misbah 5. Hafeez 6. Umar Akmal 7. Asad Shafiq 8. Keeper 9. Gul 10. Ajmal 11. any bowler

    3 - Specialist bowlers 2 - All rounders (Afridi, Hafeez) 1 - Keeper 5 - Batsmen

  • R on June 12, 2012, 4:30 GMT

    Without Kamran Akmal PAK team is incomplete. KAMRAN opens batting with Hafiz and Azhar Ali can bat 1 down. Believe me Misbah is best available player for the captaincy.

  • IMRAN on June 11, 2012, 21:42 GMT

    Misbah Should take few captaincy clases with Mahela .... but i dont think it worth as Mahela lead from the front where Misbah Take whole team in deep hole to unrecoverable position (i.e WC semi final) ........ I think Misbah should retired respectfully and let Hafeez (or someone else) learn captaincy and get ready b4 next WC ....

  • Dummy4 on June 11, 2012, 6:32 GMT


    Now teams are paying Srilanka back in their own coin. When you talk about India's record in Srilanka, we also need to speak about Srilankan record in India. Srilanka has a disastrous record in India and most of their Indian tours have been lopsided. India has convincingly won the matches irrespective of whether it has been tests or onedayers. If you say that India's record in Srilanka is worst, Srilanka in India has been humiliation of sorts. How many tests have Srilanka won in India? Nothing at all. Pls check the facts before making tall claims, do not distort history according to your convenience. Records never lie.

  • Dummy4 on June 11, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    Hi Ramesh Perera, You have got your facts absolutely wrong. Infact, India's record in Srilanka of late has been great. You can take a look at the record of India in ODIs against SL in SL, you can see that from year 2008 till now, India has done remarkably well in Srilanka. India won 3-2 in 2008 and won 4-1 in 2008-2009 India won the Asia cup in 2010 / Compaq cup in 2009 Srilanka won the Triseries in 2010, where N Zealand was the 3rd country. They have won lot of matches against Srilanka in the above tournaments. If the above record is worst according to your estimation, I am not able to comprehend your understanding. My point is that Srilanka is no more invincible at home, particularly for teams like India and Pakistan. Aus/Eng have also been successful in Srilanka. Gone are those days when Lanka can score less than 250 and put the opposition under lot of pressure with their spinners and part time spinners who used to become lethal in the conditions. To be continued

  • Dummy4 on June 11, 2012, 5:30 GMT

    Truly Professional performance by the SL team. Way to go, now that the seniors have realized their individual responsibilities.Hopefully we will see a consistent performance by all. Despite Sanga's brilliant keeping I think Chandimal must take over the gloves so that Sanga can play freely and focus on improving his batting performance which is under par at this moment.It will good to see senanayake playing in the rest of the matches on the slow premadasa stadium pitches and drop thirimanne as we already have 5 batsman and 2 allrounders plus kulasekera,malinga and herath.over to you the wise owls -i.e. the selectors

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