Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan has described the run-out of Kumar Sangakkara during the chase as the turning point of the third ODI in Dubai, which Pakistan won by 21 runs to go 2-1 up in the series.
A 106-run stand between Sangakkara and Dilshan for the second wicket had seemingly put Sri Lanka on course to overhauling the target of 258 in Dubai, before a direct hit from Shahid Afridi dismissed Sangakkara. Dilshan rued the run-out and his own dismissal soon after, which allowed Pakistan back into the game.
"Sanga [Sangakkara] was run out and I got out off a really bad ball - that was the turning point," Dilshan said. "I should have finished the game after we had a set up a good chase. If I had stayed [at the crease] for another five or six overs then it might be a different story and we might have reached the target easily."
Dilshan, however, was still optimistic about the next two games in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, which give Sri Lanka a chance to take the series. "We did very well though we weren't 100% in a few areas. But we have to carry on with the positive things we did, especially for Sharjah, as we have to take one game at a time. We have to try to win the fourth and then go to Abu Dhabi and try to win the series."
Pakistan mainly rode on Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Farhat's 151-run opening partnership that helped them to set up a moderate target. "They batted very well but our bowlers realised, after seeing their openers, that if we can try and keep them under 275, that is a gettable target," Dilshan said. "The last 20 overs we bowled really very well and to be able to restrict them under 260, it was a great effort as a bowling unit."
Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, was in a relaxed mood after taking the series lead. "Victory is always good," Misbah said. "Batting second is [usually] slightly difficult on this pitch because the ball skids on, but today the pitch was different and it wasn't that difficult [like in the] first two games. Credit should be given to all the bowlers, especially to the spinners."
Misbah was concerned that despite the large opening stand his batsmen couldn't push on to a bigger total. "That was a wonderful partnership between Hafeez and Farhat. Even if we played normally [after that] we should have got near 300 but the phase around the Powerplay cost us many wickets," he said. "That was our setback, but Younis Khan stayed for a while and helped us to put up a respectable total. Otherwise, even 240 looked tough for a while.
"This is a concern for us and we have to improve. The set batsman in the middle should carry on their good work to finish the innings well."