Pakistan 134 for 6 (Razzaq 41*) beat Sri Lanka 130 (Dilshan 48*) by 4 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out
A superior medium-pace attack, and depth in batting allowed Pakistan to prevail in a low-scoring joust at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Choosing to field first on a sluggish pitch, Inzamam-ul-Haq's men skittled Sri Lanka for a paltry 130 before huffing and puffing to a four-wicket win.
With the opening encounter washed out, Pakistan's hard-fought win ensured that they couldn't lose the three-match series. They could have inflicted even more humiliation, especially when Sri Lanka were reeling at 56 for 7, but a nuggety 48 from Tillakaratne Dilshan lent a coat of respectability. Pakistan succumbed to rashness themselves, skidding to 47 for 5, but a composed 41 from Abdul Razzaq propelled them to the target.
A depleted Sri Lankan side, further weakened by the back injury to Marvan Atapattu, struggled to come to grips with a nippy attack exploiting the slow pitch. A revitilised Rana Naved-ul-Hasan triggered the collapse, when he induced a leading edge off Chamara Kapugedera before a couple of unfortunate leg-before decisions, to Kumar Sangakkara and Upul Tharanga, did Sri Lanka in. Rana's peach of an away swinger induced Mahela Jayawardene to feather an edge and he received some admirable support from the other end as Rao Iftikhar Anjum pried out Russel Arnold and Farveez Maharoof. Sri Lanka, in just the 21st over, were floundering at 56 for 7 and all were readying themselves for an early finish.
Dilshan, though, refused to budge. He found support in the form of Nuwan Kulasekara and Lasith Malinga and eked out some valuable runs, mainly employing nudges and glides against the slower men. Strangely, Inzamam preferred to persist with his spinners rather than bring on his faster men and mop up the tail. Afridi finally dismissed both the tailenders, deceiving them with turn and variation of pace, and Dilshan was left stranded on 48 when Rana returned and uprooted Muttiah Muralitharan's leg stump.
Pakistan's openers, with four overs to negotiate before the lunch break, took the manic approach. Afridi, promoted to open the batting, fell victim to an ambitious loft, while Salman Butt flashed at a wide ball and saw Sangakkara pull off a sharp chance to his left. The procession continued after the interval with Lasith Malinga leading the way with a slinging burst. If Younis Khan was frustrated out, with his tip-and-run strategy being stifled, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik paid for being rooted to the crease.
At 47 for 5, things could have gone either way but sense finally prevailed as Mohammad Yousuf and Razzaq decided to use the plough rather than the sword. Hard-fought graft was the only way to win the day and their 35-run stand steadied the innings. Kamran Akmal batting at No.8 always gave Pakistan a cushion and his cool 20 went a long way in calming a few nerves.
But it was Razzaq who sealed the issue with a mix of attrition and blast. He showed all the virtues required to confront the nagging spin attack and didn't attempt the big strokes till the margin was considerably reduced. He might have ended it all with a sequence that read four, six, four but it was his doggedness that had seen Pakistan through, to a position from where they cannot lose the series.
How they were out
Chamara Kapugedera c Yousuf b Naved 1 (3 for 1)
Leading edge pouched by mid-on
Kumar Sangakkara lbw b Asif 1 (7 for 2)
Pitched outside leg but appeal upheld
Mahela Jayawardene c Akmal b Naved 0 (16 for 3)
Feathered an edge while trying to drive through the covers
Upul Tharanga lbw b Razzaq 19 (39 for 4)
Tried to flick and missed; another poor decision with ball pitching outside leg
Russel Arnold b Rao 16 (43 for 5)
Inside edges an incutter
Farveez Maharoof c Afridi b Rao 2 (51 for 6)
Slapped straight to cover
Kaushal Lokuarachchi c Akmal b Razzaq 1 (56 for 7)
Drove while rooted to the crease
Nuwan Kulasekara lbw b Afridi 11 (98 for 8)
Missed a straighter one while trying to pull
Lasith Malinga lbw b Afridi 15 (123 for 9)
Struck on the front foot while trying to defend
Muttiah Muralitharan b Naved 2 (130 all out)
Missed while trying to slog to midwicket
Shahid Afridi c Sangakkara b Malinga 2 (12 for 1)
Attempted a big hit; skied it high in the air
Salman Butt c Sangakkara b Maharoof 4 (15 for 2)
Flashed at a wide one; sharp catch behind the stumps
Younis Khan run out (Arnold) 4 (34 for 3)
Tried to tip and run; beaten by a direct from gully
Inzamam-ul-Haq lbw b Malinga 1 (39 for 4)
Rooted to the crease, trapped in front
Shoaib Malik c Jayawardene b Kulasekara 17 (47 for 5)
Pokes at an away swinger; good low catch at first slip
Mohammad Yousuf lbw b Lokuarachchi 26 (82 for 6)
Missed a looping legspinner; plumb in front