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5th ODI (D/N), Hambantota, July 26, 2015, Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka
(37.2/50 ov, T:369) 203

Sri Lanka won by 165 runs

Player Of The Match
116 (109)
Player Of The Series
273 runs • 6 wkts

Haphazard Sri Lanka look to derail Pakistan surge

Pakistan have already wrapped up the series 3-1, but with the Champions Trophy deadline approaching they will aim not to take the foot off the pedal

Match facts

Sunday, July 26, 2015
Start time 1430 local (0900 GMT)

Big Picture

"We're not too worried about losing," Angelo Mathews keeps saying, as his side reels from the high-profile exits. A dip in results might have been expected as new men came in and launched careers, but the meekness with which this series has been surrendered has rankled. The three losses have been heavy, and the team's willpower, seemingly weak.
Copping a portion of the blame is Lasith Malinga, who has turned up bloated, and lives on the memory of past glories, like a late-period Elvis. In Malinga's defence, he has been dealing with serious injury for much of the last year, but even allowing for that, there seem to be flaws in his preparation. Head coach Marvan Atapattu said Malinga's lack of penetration was "one of the reasons we have lost the series". Former bowling coach Chaminda Vaas didn't mince words. "Our fast bowlers are currently overweight," he told The Island. "They need to train hard and make sure they emphasise on fitness." Vaas didn't single a bowler out, but it isn't difficult to imagine at whom the criticism was mostly aimed.
The visitors, meanwhile, are ever closer to that Champions Trophy berth. On this series' evidence at least, they deserve to be there ahead of Sri Lanka. The Pakistan top order is so often a rollercoaster, rarely missing the chance to follow up a dizzying high with a gut-churning collapse. Here, Azhar Ali, Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez have been the engine room of S.S. Consistency, as it surges through the debris of Sri Lanka's great exodus.
Not to tempt fate, but their dominance of this attack has almost been… predictable. Each game, the top-order gains have been consolidated, before Shoaib Malik has turned up to give the innings its frenetic finish. The attack might be missing Wahab Riaz, but the new batting prowess has not come at the expense of that Pakistani knack for finding bowlers who are almost as good as the men they replace.

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka: LLWLL
Pakistan: WWLWW

In the spotlight

Kusal Perera may never become a fifty-every-other-match kind of player. He's more likely to make sparse, but high-impact contributions, similar to the half-century that formed the basis of Sri Lanka's Pallekele win. But he would nevertheless feel a little more comfortable if the substantial innings come more frequently. So far in his career, he has hit a fifty every 7.5 innings. A good outing at Hambantota will help lift that average.
Ahmed Shehzad had gone through the tour making significant enough contributions to keep his place in the side, until he played his first truly big innings on Wednesday. He had a lucky escape against Malinga, when he edged two through the slips in quick succession, but otherwise seemed to play himself into excellent form, finding plenty of boundaries square of the wicket when the bowlers erred in length.

Teams news

Nuwan Pradeep's hamstring strain makes him unavailable for this match, and rookie seamer Lahiru Gamage has been added to the squad. There is also a chance Sachithra Senanayake could play his first match of the series. Mathews said there may be "a few" changes to the team.*
Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Kusal Perera, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Lahiru Thirimanne, 4 Angelo Mathews (capt.), 5 Dinesh Chandimal (wk), 6 Ashan Priyanjan, 7 Milinda Siriwardene, 8 Sachith Pathirana/ Sachithra Senanayake, 9 Thisara Perera/ Lahiru Gamage, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Suranga Lakmal
The match may be a dead rubber, but with rankings points on the line and the Champions Trophy deadline approaching, Pakistan will likely play their top side.
Pakistan (probable): 1 Azhar Ali (capt.), 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Shoaib Malik, 5 Mohammad Rizwan, 6 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 7 Imad Wasim, 8 Anwar Ali, 9 Yasir Shah, 10 Rahat Ali, 11 Mohammad Irfan

Pitch and conditions

The weather is expected to be fine, but there is often a furious crosswind at Hambantota, particularly in the afternoon.

Stats and trivia

  • Tillakaratne Dilshan needs 55 runs to complete 10,000 ODI runs. He would be the fourth Sri Lankan to the milestone, and the 11th batsman overall.
  • Pakistan have the four of the top run-scorers, and five of the top wicket-takers in the series. Malinga has actually been Sri Lanka's most penetrative bowler, with four wickets at 61.50.


"We expect a lot from Lasith and he knows that. He needs to stamp his authority as well. He's been given a lot of opportunities - he played the last four games. He knows that he hasn't done that well. It happens. He will work hard on his fitness and come back strong."
Angelo Mathews on Malinga
"The pitch looks like it has a bit of moisture in it, but the sun has been shining on it, so it might dry out by tomorrow."
Azhar Ali's reading of the Hambantota surface
*Team news updated after pre-match press conference

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Pakistan Innings
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