By BV Swagath
Thisara Perera produced outstanding figures of 6 for 44 to bowl Sri Lanka to a massive 76-run win in the Second ODI at Pallekele. The visitors suffered this huge defeat despite opener Azhar Ali scoring a neat looking 96 (from 119 balls with 12 fours). The rest of the Pakistani batsmen failed to stand up to the challenge though and wasting Azhar’s efforts.
It was a fine start for Pakistan with the openers putting up 48 in 10.1 overs in the run chase of 281. Thisara Perera provided the first breakthrough when he came up with an outstanding diving catch in his follow through to dismiss Mohammad Hafeez. Younis Khan, coming in at no.3 failed again as he got caught behind edging Perera in a backfoot drive to leave Pak at 78 for 2 in 16.5 overs.
Pakistan rebuilt its innings through the stand between Azhar Ali and Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq. It was once again Perera returning back for a new spell and breaking a partnership when he got Misbah (27 from 35 balls) lbw to a delivery that had nipped back. The visitors lost the plot when the talented Umar Akmal (3) was given caught behind looking to run Perera down to thirdman. Pakistan were in further trouble when a well set Azhar Ali, who was on the brink of a maiden century got his leg stump broken by an inswinging yorker from Nuwan Kulasekara.
By the 37th over, Pakistan were reduced to 157 for 5 with not much of batting left. Shahid Afridi perished without doing much damage when he was brilliantly caught by a diving Sangakkara in an attempted steer to thirdman off Lasith Malinga. Sri Lanka after that wrapped up the Pakistani innings by the 47th over. Perera claimed six wickets while Kulasekara and Malinga took two wickets each.
The Man of the Match award went to Thisara Perera, who apart from his 6 for 44 had also came up with a crucial cameo with the bat in the first half.
Dilshan’s 13th ton carries SL to formidable total: Sri Lanka look favouries to level the One Day Series 1-1 at Pallekele after leaving Pakistan with an imposing target of 281 thanks to Tillakaratne Dilshan’s 13th ODI century. While Dilshan got back his form with an unbeaten 119 (from 139 balls with 11 fours and a six), the real energy in the Sri Lankan innings came from Skipper Mahela Jayawardene, who scored a breezy 53 (from 45 balls with 8 fours).
It was a steady start for Sri Lanka after Upul Tharanga replaced Jayawardene as Dilshan’s opening partner. It was in the 8th over that Pakistan found their breakthrough when Sohail Tanvir forced Tharanga (18 from 25 balls) to nick him behind. Kumar Sangakkara then joined Dilshan with his team at 37 for 1 and took it to 84 for 2 in the 17th over before patting back a tame return catch to Mohammad Hafeez.
Pakistan failed to make any inroads in the middle overs and SL got their launchpad through a 70-run stand between Dilshan and Dinesh Chandimal (32 from 51 balls), who got out in the 31st over lbw to a slider from Shahid Afridi. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene, demoting himself at no.5 provided the momentum for the Lankans to ensure that the hosts got to a formidable total. Mahela Jayawardene (53 from 45 balls) put up 86 runs for the 4th wicket with Dilshan before falling to a doosra from Saeed Ajmal in the 46th over.
Thisara Perera provided the finishing touches to the Lankan innings with a superb cameo of 24* from 14 balls with 2 fours and 2 sixes while Dilshan batted out the entire 50 overs for his 119*. Not a single Pakistani bowler could come up with top class figures this time around including Saeed Ajmal, who was taken for some runs in the final overs.
Toss and Teams: Sri Lanka have won the toss and elected to bat first under overcast conditions in the Second ODI at Pallekele. The hosts have gone unchanged despite losing the first ODI on Thursday. Pakistan have been forced to make one change with Mohammad Sami out with a thumb injury. The visitors have given ODI Debut to left-arm quick Rahat Ali.
Sri Lanka: TM Dilshan, WU Tharanga, DPMD Jayawardene (Captain), LD Chandimal, KC Sangakkara (Wicket Keeper), HDRL Thirimanne, AD Mathews, NLTC Perera, HMRKB Herath, KMDN Kulasekara, SL Malinga
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (Captain), Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Sarfraz Ahmed (Wicket Keeper), Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Sohail Tanvir, Rahat Ali