Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Dambulla August 30, 2014

Sri Lanka seamers rout Pakistan to seal series win


Sri Lanka 104 for 3 (Dilshan 50*) beat Pakistan 102 (Fawad 38*, Perera 4-34, Prasad 2-25) by seven wickets (D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Although there was little on paper to separate the two sides, it seemed during the first two ODIs that Sri Lanka were the better team for the long haul - less likely to make silly mistakes, and less likely to fold under pressure. And so it proved in the decider, as Pakistan crumbled to their ninth-lowest ODI total in a match that never threatened to become a genuine contest.

Sri Lanka strolled to their target in 18.2 overs, and Tillakaratne Dilshan reached his 38th ODI fifty with the winning four. Pakistan struck three times. They dismissed Kumar Sangakkara cheaply for the third time in a row, and the third umpire may have let Dilshan off early in his innings, but there was no way Sri Lanka were not winning this one.

For the first time in the series, Pakistan began a match in their comfort zone. Having had to chase two big targets, they won the toss and batted. This is what they like to do. It was the 31st toss Misbah-ul-Haq had won, and the 21st time he had chosen to bat. Pakistan had Saeed Ajmal back, and the pitch, everyone agreed, promised to help the spinners as the match progressed. In the deciding match of a three-match series, things were finally falling in place for them. Misbah said 260-270 would be a good score.

Pakistan did not get anywhere near that. The movement Lasith Malinga and Dhammika Prasad achieved early on may have forced them to rethink their target, but they surely would not have settled for 102 all out. They began at a crawl, scoring just six runs in the first five overs for the loss of Sharjeel Khan, but what followed flattered Sri Lanka's bowlers. This was not a typically flat ODI track, certainly, but it was definitely one on which a team could survive 50 overs. Pakistan were bowled out in less than 33, with their only respite coming during a 40-minute rain interruption when they were 81 for 8. The match was reduced, subsequently, to 48 overs a side.

Quite simply, Pakistan did not show up, which was a pity for the capacity crowd that turned up, klaxons blaring, to watch only the second ODI at the Rangiri Dambulla Stadium in the last four years. They were Sri Lanka supporters, but they would not have wanted their team to have it so easy. Dhammika Prasad replaced Nuwan Kulasekara - who had gone wicketless in the first two ODIs - and struck with just his ninth ball, as Sharjeel Khan flirted outside off stump with no footwork.

It was the start of a procession of dismissals that owed more to poor shot selection or execution than to any devilish trick of bowler or pitch. Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi were out going for big shots, Mohammad Hafeez tried to work Malinga across the line when the ball was still moving around, and Misbah was run-out for the third time in his last seven innings.

That dismissal ended the only period of play in which Pakistan threatened to dig themselves out of trouble. Fawad Alam joined Misbah with the score 14 for 3 in the eighth over, and it was not an unfamiliar situation for the two of them. During the Asia Cup final in March, against the same opposition, the two of them had put on 122 after coming together at 18 for 3. Fawad had gone on to make an unbeaten century, and with Umar Akmal adding a late flourish, Pakistan had recovered to post 260.

Misbah and Fawad began their partnership in much the same way they had done in that match, keeping the good balls out, gathering their runs with a nurdle here and a push there, and appeared to gather some momentum when they took 16 runs from the 11th over with three streaky boundaries through third man.

The end of that over brought an end to the first spells of both opening bowlers. Runs were still coming at a trickle, but that would not have bothered this pair of batsmen too much. In the second over after drinks, however, Misbah made a fatal misjudgment. He tapped the ball to the right of backward point and set off without hesitation. Mistake.

Dilshan attacked the ball, swooped down on it, got a little lucky with perfect bounce into his right hand, and threw down the stumps at the bowler's end. Misbah was nowhere near the crease, even if the umpire S Ravi was in enough doubt to signal for his colleague upstairs.

The last six wickets added 55 runs between them, as Thisara Perera extracted disconcerting bounce to run through the middle and lower order. Only Sohaib Maqsood got a genuinely difficult ball, though, one that reared at his rib-cage and kissed his glove as he tried to pull them out of the way. Umar, having smacked Thisara over long-on for six the previous ball, tried to pull him from outside off and top-edged a catch wide of mid-on. Saeed Ajmal fell in virtually the same manner. This would have been okay if he was batting with No. 11 at the other end, not so much when Fawad was still around.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 4, 2014, 5:34 GMT

    Why not give Afridi a chance to open again- I know it is his decision not to do so but for the sake of cricket and his nation -Afridi has got to reconsider this. Statistics says Afridi wins you one out of 5-7 matchs if he opens the game because on average he makes 10-20 runs in quick time that generates enough momentum for the rest of the players. It is worth trying this experiment again. Mr. Afridi and Mr. Waqar. if you are not willing to try new or old tricks how are you going to make a change visible. Nothing wrong to play the impact player and your trump card. The hind sight for the last couple of decades is keep the big hitters for the later part of the game but then these bombs either implode or fail to explode at all.

  • Dummy4 on September 2, 2014, 1:10 GMT

    Sri Lanka and Pakistan are definitely better than India and are favorites for CWC 2015.

  • Android on September 1, 2014, 12:01 GMT

    pak should bring in new openers our batting is v.week i would suggest give chance to all rounders like hammad azam and anwar ali and bilawal bhatti make sohaib come on one down and fawad second make haffeez come on 6 or 7 open with shezad and sami aslam bring in sarfaraz ahmed as wicket keeper and let umer akmal play as a betsmen nd give him full chance also use zulfiqar babar please give chances to new players we are tired of seeing same team loosing and loosing again

  • Iraj on September 1, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    For the 2015 WC we need new bowlers. SLC missed the chance for testing couple of young bowlers. Malinga & Kulasekara are both aged & exposed while Eranga & Lakmal are the other options. At least Binura Fernando should have given a chance. Only Thissara Perera was the impressive youngster. We need more young quality fastmen; specially lefties. Herath is a quality test bowler but seems too old for ODI's specially fielding in fast pitches. We should use him carefully for tests as he has very limited time most probably another one year. Tharindu Kaushal should have been tested & at least Suraj Randiv wasn't used from the squad. SLC just focused on winning the series anyhow after loosing to SA. In my opinion that costs for the future. 2015 ODI WC in Aus won't be that easy as many people think. Another few months & NZ tour is the key to build up the squad.

  • Iraj on September 1, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    A well deserved Victory for SL. First match was a close combat & Pakistan did extremely well. Second match also a thriller in the beginning. In the 3rd ODI Pakistan collapsed due to their lack of awareness about the pitch. But SL bowlers deserves the credit to run through the Pakistani line-up. They newer let them to settle. As far as 2015 ODI WC is concerned we have the most experienced & most aged squad. having four batsmen Dilshan, Sanga, Mahela & Mathews. They must take the responsibility when batting. Chandi & Thiri also did well in Aussie conditions & if they are in form it would be an added advantage. I don't have much faith on Kusal Janith in Aus. If he plays he could add a quick 15-20 runs too.

  • Dummy4 on September 1, 2014, 7:10 GMT

    Congratulations Sri Lanka for yet another series win. Hopefully the one day squad is steadily been moulded but no one is indispensable and only current form will be the criteria to make it to the final squad for the World Cup which is of course about 6 months away and Sri Lanka have more fixtures to complete against England & New Zealand in the interim period. It is also hoped that out of form Thirimanne & Chandimal will have to justify their positions in the upcoming series with performances if they are to be considered as SL cannot afford to have bench warmers in the World Cup squad.

  • Dummy4 on September 1, 2014, 5:38 GMT

    My suggestion for upcoming Aust series in UAE, bring in Azhar Ali as opener, he is clever/defensive & plays with 70-80 SR. 2nd Sarfaraz in place of Umar Akmal & Asad Shafiq in place of Younis khan. Afridi can be replaced with Hamad Azam. Give him a chance for 1 whole series. Let pathan rest.

  • Kepili on September 1, 2014, 3:26 GMT

    Some posters seem to be more interested to see their favorites in the team than SL loosing the WC! Otherwise, how on earth someone can suggest a failure like Kusal? He already ruined 2013 ICC Champions trophy in Eng where he managed just 14 runs@ 3.5 Av in 4 ODIs!

    Overall ODI Batting Av 26.28 from 33 matches yielded just 736 runs

    ODI Batting Av (without BD) 19.5 from 25 ODIs

    ODI in Eng/Ireland/WI - 9 ODIs -21runs - Av 2.3 (in Pace/bounce friendly conditions on Lively tracks)

    Kusal Perera after giving 32 consecutive Odis did manage a single hundred in BD! Look at his stats, just a solitary 100 (vs BD) & just 3 Fifties (2 in BD & in 1 in Sharjah) FROM 33 MATCHES. This guy is just a t20 player, and his cross-bat Arial slog to squire-leg is effective only on slow flat decks. That is why he couldn't score beyond 10 runs in 75% of his 32 innings & couldn't survive beyond 18 balls 90% of his innings played Eng/Aus/ WI/Irelnd. Keep suggesting an inept like him is unbelievabl

  • Dummy4 on September 1, 2014, 2:41 GMT

    Thanks for the selectors not including Kulasekara who can't bowl at good pace.

  • Dummy4 on September 1, 2014, 2:40 GMT

    Well done Thisara and SL. Thisara Perera should be promoted as vice captain. He should be a permanent member of ODI and T20 team. Now the team is well balance except the openers.

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