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15-Nov-2011 02:45:00 GMT
Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI, Dubai

Tharanga, Malinga Help Sri Lanka Level Series

Dubai: Opener Upul Tharanga made 77 and fast bowler Lasith Malinga claimed three wickets on Monday to lead Sri Lanka to a 25-run win over Pakistan to level the one-day international series at 1-1 with three matches left.

Tharanga and Mahela Jayawardene (50) ensured Sri Lanka reached 235-7 in the second match at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Pakistan spinners Saeed Ajmal finished with 3-61 and Shahid Afridi 2-35.

Malinga took two wickets in his first over in capturing 3-31 as Pakistan was bowled out for 210 off 46.3 overs, with Umar Akmal (91) the only Pakistani batsman to score more than 30.

Pacemen Thisara Perera took 2-30 and Dilhara Fernando 2-54 while Sri Lanka's fielders also supplied three fine run outs.

Pakistan's chase was quickly derailed by the fiery Malinga, who removed Mohammad Hafeez (4) and Younis Khan (0) by catches from wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara.

Hafeez was Malinga's 150th ODI wicket, while Younis' removal was via a brilliant one-handed grab away to Sangakkara's right.

Perera put Pakistan in further peril at 11-3 when he claimed Imran Farhat (3) to a plumb lbw decision.

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq and Akmal brought their side back into contention in a fourth-wicket stand of 64. Fernando broke through to tilt the balance again when he trapped Misbah (21) in front.

Abdul Razzaq's run out, trying a risky second to deep midwicket, put Sri Lanka further on top at 102-5 in the 27th over.

But Akmal, who survived a difficult chance to Angelo Mathews at short extra cover off Fernando when on 16, played some majestic strokes to lift Pakistan's hopes again.

He found a level-headed ally in wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed, who helped put on 62 for the sixth wicket.

Sri Lanka removed both in successive balls.

Akmal moved into the 90s with three blazing boundaries off Fernando but fell next delivery when he blasted a ball for Dinesh Chandimal to hold a sharp catch at mid-on. The right-hander cracked eight fours and a six off 102 deliveries.

Next ball, Sarfraz (24) departed lbw after missing a full toss from Malinga.

Umar Gul was another lbw victim and the match seemed over at 169-8. But Afridi gave Pakistan a glimmer of hope with a short cameo of 29 off 14 balls, striking three fours and a six.

He was run out by Dilshan's underarm flick from backward point, and Sangakkara sealed the win with another direct hit to claim last man Aizaz Cheema.

Earlier, Sri Lanka opted to bat after winning the toss and got a bright start from Tharanga and captain Tillakaratne Dilshan. The pair added 56 for the first wicket despite a testing new ball burst from Gul and Cheema.

Afridi made a crucial breakthrough when he bowled Dilshan, who hit four fours in 28.

Razzaq quickly claimed the prized wicket of Sangakkara, who chipped a return catch at 65-2. Sri Lanka was further stalled when Dinesh Chandimal was bowled by Ajmal after a laboured 15 off 37 balls.

But Tharanga and Jayawardene rebuilt in a fourth-wicket partnership of 85.

The pair was slow to begin with before blossoming, especially in the batting powerplay that realized 48 runs from five overs.

Tharanga, dropped at 15 at cover by Imran Farhat off Aizaz Cheema and also at 31 by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed off Ajmal, eventually was out to Afridi. The opener, who hit eight fours, holed out to long-on at 179-4.

Jayawardene passed his half-century but fell soon afterward within 13 runs of becoming the ninth batsman to 10,000 ODI runs.

The right-hander hit five fours before he tried to force Ajmal through the off side and was bowled.

Jeevan Mendis (17 not out) helped provided a late surge, including 15 runs off the last over from Ajmal.

Match stats

  • Sri Lanka, who have played 67 neutral ODIs against Pakistan, won their 22nd game. Only West Indies (38) and India (26) have won more neutral matches against Pakistan.
  • The target of 236 is the fourth-lowest defended by Sri Lanka against Pakistan. The lowest target defended is 173 in Dambulla in 2003.
  • Upul Tharanga's 77 is his 20th half-century and his second-highest score against Pakistan after his 80 in Colombo in 2009. The strike-rate of 64.18 during his innings is his fourth-lowest for a half-century score.
  • Umar Akmal's 91 is the fifth-highest score by a Pakistan batsman against Sri Lanka in neutral ODIs since 2000. It is also his ninth half-century and second-highest score in ODIs.

Brief scores
Sri Lanka
235 for 7 (Tharanga 77, Jayawardene 50, Ajmal 3-61)
Pakistan 210 (Umar 91, Malinga 3-36)
Result Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 25 runs
MOM Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka)

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