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August 26, 2009
Sri Lanka A 215 for 6 (Thirimanne 40*, Maharoof 39) beat Pakistan A 214 (Ali 69, Amin 59, Bandara 4-43) by four wickets
Sri Lanka A, with their backs to the wall, pulled off their second consecutive win to square the series at the P Sara Oval, leaving all to play for in the final game. A strong bowling performance by the home side restricted Pakistan A to 214 before the target was comfortably overhauled. Malinga Bandara responded to his omission from the Champions Trophy squad with a four-wicket haul to keep Pakistan to a score they couldn't defend.
It was a different story in the morning when the Pakistan openers, Umar Amin and Azhar Ali, added 105 at a decent clip. The trouble started for Pakistan when the spinners, Bandara and Muthumudalige Pushpakumara were in operation. Pushpakumara dismissed Amin for 59 before Bandara claimed Ahmed Shehzad. Pakistan suddenly lost three wickets for one run and were in need of a recovery. The middle order failed to settle down as the spin pair went on to share six wickets between them. Only four managed to cross double figures, including the captain Faisal Iqbal who ran out of partners till the 46th over, when the innings was wrapped up. Bandara finished with 4 for 43 while Pushpakumara conceded the same number of runs and took two wickets.
The Sri Lankans were steady in their reply, with two half-century stands at the top. Thilina Kandamby carved out a patient 36 but when he was dismissed by Shehzad, the hosts had lost half their side with a further 76 needed to win. Lahiru Thirimanne and Farveez Maharoof then steered the side home with a stand of 73.
The teams will stay back at the same venue for the deciding ODI on Friday.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Graeme Smith was the last of South Africa's old guard. The roots of the new one need to grow deeper