Pakistan A secure a thriller in the gloom
Pakistan A 187 for 9 (Hasan Raza 40, Bandara 5-44) beat Sri Lanka A 192 (Vandort 77, Wasti 4-34) by four runs (D/L method)
Pakistan A clinched a thrilling victory over Sri Lanka A in fading light at the Sinhalese Sports Club, to clinch the final of the A-team triangular series. After restricting Sri Lanka to a mediocre 192, Pakistan looked on course to confirm their status as the outstanding side in the three-team tournament, but in the end it took a desperate 30-run last-wicket stand between Yasir Arafat and Mohammad Asif to see off the Sri Lankans, for whom Malinga Bandara starred with 5 for 44.
Sri Lanka's entire target had been built on the efforts of two batsmen - the opener, Michael Vandort, who made 77, and the former Test stalwart, Russel Arnold, who shepherded a flimsy tail and was the last man out for 71 from 85 balls, after Wajahatullah Wasti had spun through the innings with 4 for 34. None of Sri Lanka's last six batsmen reached double figures as they slumped from 145 for 3 to 192 all out.
In the oppressive March heat, Pakistan's innings did not go according to plan, however, as they slipped to 21 for 3 inside 10 overs. And that was even before Bandara got in on the act. His beguiling legbreaks kept a lid on Pakistan's mid-innings ambitions, as a succession of batsmen made a start then gave it away. The top-scorer for the innings was Hasan Raza, but when he was bowled by Bandara for 40 from 36 balls, Pakistan were 147 for 7, and staring at defeat.
Imran Tahir was then stumped first ball off a wide, which meant that in statistical terms, he did not actually face a delivery, and when Abdur Rauf was caught behind for 6, Sri Lanka's victory was in the bag. Yasir and Asif stuck to their task, however, and had inched Pakistan ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis asking-rate when the gloom set in and caused the match to be called off as Sri Lanka's fast bowlers returned to the attack.