Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Hambantota August 26, 2014

Sri Lanka defend 310 to square series


Sri Lanka 310 for 9 (Mathews 93, Jayawardene 67, Thisara 65, Hafeez 3-39) beat Pakistan 233 (Hafeez 62, Shehzad 56, Thisara 3-19) by 77 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The varying rhythms of the one-day game were on full display in the second ODI in Hambantota, where the spinners thrived and the quicks toiled in a high-scoring encounter. There were bursts of boundaries alternating with periods of lull, with Sri Lanka's run-rate sharply increasing and decreasing through their innings, till a final blast lifted them beyond 300.

The hosts began in a hurry despite losing early wickets, then counterattacked against the spinners before being becalmed through Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews who put on a big partnership, lost a bunch of wickets to Mohammad Hafeez, and were only bailed out by a brutal onslaught fromThisara Perera in the death overs.

No team has ever successfully hunted down more than 300 in Sri Lanka, but Pakistan were bursting with confidence after the back-from-the-dead chase in the first ODI. Though Pakistan lost Sharjeel Khan in the fourth over, Hafeez hit a dazzling half-century that included six fours in his first 10 deliveries. With Ahmed Shehzad playing the supporting act, Hafeez tore apart the new-ball bowlers to drive Pakistan to 98 for 1 after 12 overs.

Then came the big squeeze from the Sri Lankan spinners. Seekkuge Prasanna was playing his first ODI since December and had messed up with the bat after being promoted to No. 6, but he flourished with the ball and was electric in the field. Prasanna and Rangana Herath exploited the help in the surface to string together loads of dot balls to pile the pressure on Pakistan.

After a six-over spell in which only 16 runs were scored, the wickets duly arrived. Hafeez missed a straighter one from Prasanna and was lbw for 62. With only two genuine spinners in the line-up, Sri Lanka turned to the part-time tweakers of Tillakaratne Dilshan. He responded by getting the dangerous Umar Akmal caught behind off his first delivery.

Those wickets resulted in a galloping number of dot balls as Misbah-ul-Haq took time to settle and Shehzad could not force the pace. By the 30th over, Pakistan had played out 100 scoreless deliveries. The quick-thinking Sangakkara produced a breakthrough with another superbly anticipated catch down the leg side when Shehzad went for the lap sweep.

When the Powerplay came along, Sri Lanka belatedly decided that Herath should have the responsibility of bowling three overs in the Powerplay, and not Lasith Malinga. Herath delivered, first dismissing Misbah and then the hero of the first ODI, Sohaib Maqsood.

It was not yet game over as Fawad Alam was still battling, and no one can tell what Shahid Afridi will do. Afridi began with some powerful boundaries, and with the spinners bowled out, Sri Lanka would have just started worrying when he holed out for 17. The tail did not last too long and Sri Lanka wrapped up a 77-run victory, though the match was tighter than the margin suggested.

The margin too would have been tighter had Pakistan's bowlers not lost their way in the final stages of the innings earlier in the evening. After having Sri Lanka down to 194 for 6 in the 38th over, thanks to Hafeez's triple-strike, they still gave away 80 runs in the final six overs as Perera and Mathews ran amok.

The power-hitting that makes Perera such a valued limited-overs player was in full display as he launched everything in his range over the leg side. From 15 off 18, he rocketed to 57 off 32 as the bowlers wilted under the blaze of big hits. At the 40-over stage, Sri Lanka would have been satisfied with a final score around 275, but the Perera blitz shot them past 300.

Mathews had been less spectacular but his 93 was the knock around which the Sri Lankan innings revolved. After letting Jayawardene dominate a 122-run fourth-innings partnership, and keeping his strike rate below 70 for much of his innings, he opened out with a series of muscular hits over extra cover and towards midwicket at the end. He went past 3000 ODI runs, and had time for a maiden century in the format, but he, as so often this year, perished in the 90s.

Jayawardene had been the stand-out performer in the first half of the innings, showing yet again that violent strokeplay was not necessary to score at a pace demanded by modern cricket. He used the lap sweep and the late cut past backward point, he scooted down the track to chip over mid-off and midwicket - there were four fours from him in a five-ball sequence against the spinners, and the pressure built by the early wickets evaporated.

Pakistan needed to capitalise once Hafeez provided the breakthroughs during the Powerplay, but their new-ball bowlers, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan, had days to forget as Sri Lanka ramped up the score to nearly unreachable levels.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cover on August 29, 2014, 16:43 GMT

    @Sam_Liyanage It is not a surprising factor that you want Tharanga in the Sri Lankan team by attacking not only KUSAL but also attacking players in the test team such as DIMUTH and KAUSAL in the recent past by heavily criticizing them in various ways and appraise Tharanga even for poor innings.

    If you don't know I can 100% certain that most people in our country don't give a damn about Tharanga compared to legends such as ARAVINDA, MAHELA, SANATH and SANGA.

    Even Kusal still haven't perform up to expectation they love him and they know that he will be a future star.

  • Andrew on August 29, 2014, 16:10 GMT

    According to some "pundits" S/R is the deciding factor for selections (we all know why- because there is nothing else to crow)! Then we should send Thisara Perera to open the inning because he has the most effective strike rate & variety of hefty blows that works in any condition on any deck! Unlike, other 12 ball Slogging Masters, Thisara has actually won us quite a few ODIs including the most recent one, even coming as a lower-order batsmen. If Thisara Perera was given 33 consecutive ODIs to Open (as some TOO-GOOD-DO-NOTHING busted hype-bubbles), I'm sure he would have scored at-least a few fifties & hundreds by now & won some matches for SL!

  • Shashika on August 29, 2014, 15:24 GMT

    @andrew:: To you 74 of SR for an operner is acceptable.. But to the world cricket it is not.. Thats why all the operners in the world at the present have 75+ SR.. If tharanga's SR is less,, then he must produce the consistency which marven did when he played.. He has to keep his avg 38+.. And when marven played, sanath was there.. dont compare tharanga with marven, mahela and sanath.. You know, why tharanga cant score like he used to score?? its because no sanath at the other end.. and dilshan is out of form.. so runs doesnt come fast from the other end.. so he cant play his tuk tuk inning.. no point of arguing.. tharanga has played 4 test innings and 2 odis.. did he play up to the standard?? lets see the next few matches.. tharanga himself will answer to you.. when the runs doesnt come from the other end fast,, tharanga always gets out.. see the tomorrow match which will be his last..

  • Shashika on August 29, 2014, 15:15 GMT

    @andrew: obviously my intentions are clear. We need our best XI. You think SR is not a measurement. So what will happen if tharanga and thirimanne open the inning against SA or AUS who can cross 300 often?? Or even against IND?? AVG alone cant measure batsmen in ODIs.. That can be done in test cricket.. These days only 4 fielders are out side the 30 yards.. So still someone play with 70-75 SR in every inning he is useless unless all the other players are big hitters. Everyone has to field, everyone saves runs, boundries.. Tharanga is the worst fielder in the side in this playing 11 other than rangana who is 36. can u name a player in this playing 11 who is worse than tharanga when it comes to the fielding? Dont compare tharanga with sanath. He has 91+ SR.. Mahela has 78 of a SR which with 11000 runs.. Tharanga in one of the 2 operneres in top teams who have his SR less than 75. Less than 75 of SR and 33 of avg?? You have to master one of these.. Either the SR or AVG must be good..

  • Pinidiya on August 29, 2014, 14:39 GMT

    @ TheAnalyzer: Strike Rate is not a measurement of batting consistency as you think, but batting average in career stats reflects the Consistency of a batsman. It is the measurement of overall CONSISTENCY but nothing else! By the way Tharanga' s overall ODI batting average 34 is a very significant one BETTER than MANY established current/former players in SL such as Mahela, Sanath, Marvan etc. Unlike TEST cricket, even Sanga's ODI Av is 40 (thehighest) Therefore Tharanga's ODI Batting Average is quite good and S/R 74 for an Opener is acceptable (Marvan had just 68), because he plays long innings that won many matches for SL! Nothing wrong with Tharanga's fielding as you say, if you have watched him fielding, you would have noticed how many 4s he saved even in the recent matches & took all the catches came to him, don't forget he is a wicket keeper as well. Your intentions are pretty clear, but you can't fool people!

  • piyath on August 29, 2014, 14:04 GMT

    @Sam_Liyanage Please try to stop comparing Tharanga with Kusal, Tharanga always benefited from players like others such as Sanath and Dilshan in the other end where they scoring @90 Strike rate So that he can engage in 200+ record partnerships by playing moderate innings. He will never be the hero in those partnerships. Dilshan and Sanath will score 3/2 runs of those partnerships.

    Tharanga must have one of the poorest strike rates of the openers in world cricket at the moment if not the worst strike rate. Correct me if I'm wrong please. Can you check me and update with that details here.

  • Andrew on August 29, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    @ CoverPoint1234: This is how he becomes the BEST At 29 yrs of age: Tharanga had scored more centuries than anyone at that age in SL. Also, no one has scored 5k runs at his age & quickest to reach 1k & 5k runs! His unbeaten 174* is the highest score ever played by a SL @ his age (2nd highest in SL ODI batting history). Highest number of 200+ partnerships is a World Record! So Tharanga has DEFINITELY done BETTER THAN ANYONE @ 29 yrs in SL ODI HISTORY.!

  • Shashika on August 29, 2014, 12:48 GMT

    @naleensa: He has played few T20 innings.. He was the man of the match several times.. that means he has won us matches.. Kusal is sent to the ground to score fast.. Seriously dont you get the point?? AVG 33.. SR 73.. So which category suitable for him?? Players like kallis, dravid, marven, sanga are slow players. but AVG is around 40.. sanath, gilchirst, sehwag, do not have a good AVG. but SR is 90+.. Tharanga is not a consistent player.. And not a pinch hitter.. Either he must have a good avg or good strike rate. he has neither. if he can bowl then its ok. but he cant. if he is very sharp in the field like dilshan, sachithra, kaushal or kusal, its ok.. but he is not. He still has the same weaknesses.. no foot work, cant play out side the off stump,, always edges to the keeper or slips, cant pull or hook etc. every bowler knows that. he played 2 ODI matches and few test innings.. With the time, you will realize that every bowler knows his weakness, and he can hardly cross the 50 now

  • Naleen on August 29, 2014, 12:10 GMT

    @TheAnalyzer: anyway i was saying that what tharanga has to do to get in to the team. Coz he is in the team because he has performed well in the recent past so he deserve a place in the team. but according to you you want failing KJP rather than performing player. all i am saying just give the give the guy a chance. if he performs he can be in team but if not we can always replace with some one else. that how the selection should work every time. and about tharanga's fielding i believe he is decent fielder (Very Good Outfielder). and he has the best throwing techniques among the srilankan fielders. he throws flat and releases the ball quickly. just see some videos if you haven't seen him fielding.

  • piyath on August 29, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    We all know that one day kusal perera will be the next sanath jayasuriya. so just stop comparing these two players where tharanga will never become a match winner.

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