PALLEKELE: Kusal Perera equalled the Sri Lanka record for the fastest ODI fifty and Dinesh Chandimal scored a calculated 48 not out to take Sri Lanka to a series leveling two-wicket win over Pakistan in the second One-Day International played at Pallekele International Stadium.
Sri Lanka were left to chase a tall score of 288 for victory and Perera provided his team with the perfect start with sizzling knock of 68 off 25 balls inclusive of 13 fours and two sixes in an opening stand of 92 off 50 balls that enabled his team to reach their target without any undue pressure with 11 balls to spare despite Pakistan making a strong come back after his dismissal.
Perera who resembles the great Sanath Jayasuriya in many aspects of his stroke play equaled the master blaster’s Sri Lanka record for the fastest ODI fifty in 17 balls. He unleashed a series of breathtaking boundaries that left the Pakistan bowlers and fielders stunned and captain Azhar Ali short of options to stop the run flow. He took the Man of the Match award.
Sri Lanka finished on 288 for 8 with Chandimal playing the role of a finisher perfectly to score an unbeaten 48 off 63 balls after they had lost four wickets for 19 runs by the half way stage.
Chandimal was helped greatly by two newcomers to international cricket Milinda Siriwardana (26) and Sachith Pathiran (33) who enabled him to raise the total by 89 runs.
Thisara Perera held back late in the innings also played his part adding a further 37 runs to bring Sri Lanka within striking distance of the target before he was dismissed with three needed.
Sri Lanka on their part could consider themselves lucky to have come out with a win here after an appalling display of fielding where they dropped catches and misfielded in one of their worst performances on the field.
Pakistan capitalized on those lapses to run up a challenging total which they were at the beginning quite confident of defending successfully.
However they didn’t reckon the assault of their bowlers by Kusal Perera who rattled them with his aggressive approach that set them back.
Skipper Azhar Ali top scored with 79 but it was the half-centuries of Malik (51 off 51 balls) and Mohammad Rizwan (52 off 38 balls) that saw Pakistan achieve their final total of 287-8 after choosing to bat first.
Sri Lanka’s bowling was again unimpressive despite the fact that skipper Angelo Mathews took it upon himself to come up with an excellent bowling performance taking one for 36 off 10 overs.
The two teams travel to Colombo for the third ODI at the R Premadasa Stadium on Sunday. The five-match ODI series stands at one-all.
Azhar Ali c Siriwardana b Dilshan 79
Ahmed Shehzad b Pathirana 30
Mohammad Hafeez c Mathews b Pathirana 9
Babar Azam b Siriwardana 12
Shoaib Malik b Mathews 51
Mohammad Rizwan lbw b Pradeep 52
Safraz Ahmed lbw b Malinga 7
Anwar Ali not out 29
Yasir Shah c Siriwardana b Malinga 1
Rahat Ali not out 0
Extras (b-4, lb-3, w-9, nb-1) 17
Total (8 wickets, 50 overs) 287
Did not bat: Mohammad Irfan.
Fall of wickets: 1-59 (Shehzad), 2-75 (Hafeez), 3-96 (Azam), 4-179 (Malik), 5-197 (Azhar), 6-217 (Sarfraz), 7-273 (Rizwan), 8-278 (Yasir).
Bowling: Mathews 10-2-36-1, Pradeep 8-1-42-1, T Perera 2-0-15-0 (w1), Malinga 10-0-64-2 (nb1, w5), Pathirana 9-0-70-2, Siriwardana 5-0-22-1 (w2), Dilshan 6-0-31-1 (w1).
K Perera c Yasir b Irfan 68
T Dilshan b Rahat 47
U Tharanga b Rahat 28
A Mathews run out 8
L Thirimanne c Anwar b Rahat 4
D Chandimal not out 48
M Siriwardana lbw b Hafeez 26
S Pathirana st Sarfraz b Hafeez 33
T Perera c Malik b Anwar 15
L Malinga not out 2
Extras (lb-2, w-7) 9
Total (8 wickets, 48.1 overs) 288
Did not bat: N Pradeep
Fall of wickets: 1-92 (K Perera), 2-140 (Tharanga), 3-155 (Dilshan), 4-157 (Mathews), 5-159 (Thirimanne), 6-196 (Siriwardana), 7-248 (Pathirana), 8-285 (T Perera).
Bowling: Irfan 10-0-61-1 (w2), Rahat 9.1-0-73-3 (w3), Hafeez 10-0-61-2 (w1), Anwar 7-0-33-1, Yasir 10-0-51-0 (w1), Malik 2-0-7-0.