Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, has said Shahid Afridi proved he was a matchwinner in his first ODI since coming out of a conditional international retirement. Afridi took 3 for 27 in 9.3 overs in Dubai, helping bowl Sri Lanka out for 130 and set up an easy Pakistan victory.
"Shahid Afridi is a matchwinner and he proved that today," Misbah said. "He came on when we needed wickets and also needed to keep the runs down. He bowled a wicket-to-wicket line, didn't give away runs and also made key breakthroughs. He's started his comeback well and I hope he continues to perform."
Afridi's wickets came after Pakistan's seamers had got a couple of early breakthroughs. Misbah said it had been the constant pressure his bowlers asserted that had been Sri Lanka's undoing. "The pitch played well and was the same across both innings. Credit goes to our bowlers. We pressurised them right from the start by being disciplined with the ball. The seamers were disciplined early and then the spinners came on and did really well."
Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lanka captain, said it was once again poor shot selection that was behind the batting failure. Sri Lanka's batsmen had struggled in the Test series too, getting dismissed for first-innings totals of 197 in Abu Dhabi and 239 in Dubai. Dilshan said it had nothing to do with any technical faults but was down to making bad choices.
"Our mistake again was shot selection," Dilshan said. "It's not the technique of the batsmen because they are all getting starts but throwing it away with poor shots. There were one or two good balls today, the rest were all bad shots. We knew this was not a 250-280 pitch but felt that with four seamers we could defend something around 220-230. But 130 was obviously too low."
Dilshan had chosen to bat, as he had in the Test at the same venue. There was a little help for Pakistan's seamers early but Dilshan said it wasn't the pitch that got Sri Lanka's batsmen out. The next ODI is also in Dubai, on November 14, and Dilshan said if the game was played on the same pitch he would not hesitate to bat first again.
"The track was not bad. If we are playing on the same track in the next match I think batting first will still be the right option."
Dilshan also said Mahela Jayawardene was a doubt for the next game as he had hurt his knee. He said Jayawardene would have a scan on Saturday after which the team would take a call on whether he would be fit for the second ODI.