Pakistan graft past Sri Lanka

Runs were a precious commodity at Colombo, where Pakistan grafted to a 4-wicket win in the second of three One Day Internationals against Sri Lanka. Abdul Razzaq took 100 balls to compile his 41 not out, and was joined by Kamran Akmal (20 not out) in partnership of 52 that sealed the result.

Pakistan had earlier slipped to 47/5 in the chase of 131 for victory, but held their nerve at the end when Razzaq completed a fine allrounder’s effort. Malinga took 2 for 22 from his 9 overs to lead the Sri Lankan bowlers.

Sri Lanka were inserted earlier after Pakistan won the toss, and struggled from the outset against opening bowlers Naved-ul-Hasan (3/23) and Mohammad Asif (1/22). The former first dismissed 19-year-old Chamara Kapugedera (1) via a leading edge, then Asif accounted for Sangakkara (1) with a questionable leg-before-wicket decision. Captain Mahela Jayawardene (0) received a beautiful away-swinger from Rana, then Upul Tharanga was trapped by another unfortunate leg-before decision.

The Sri Lankans were reeling at 39/4, and that quickly became a dismal 56/7. It was a hard-fought and purpose-driven innings of 48 not out from Tillekeratne Dilshan that prevented utter humiliation. He stayed at the crease for 75 balls and collected 3 fours, but could only elevate Sri Lanka to 130 all out in 44.2 overs.

Only Shoaib Malik failed to take a wicket among the Pakistani bowlers, and he bowled a tidy spell of 7-0-17-0. Supporting the opening bowlers well were Iftikhar Anjum (2/13), Shahid Afridi (2/28) and Man of the Match, Razzaq (2/19).

The early end to the innings meant that Pakistan faced 4 overs before the luncheon interval, and they procured to lose both openers in that time. Afridi (2) was taken behind the wicket off Malinga’s bowling, as he played a loose swipe outside the offstump, then Salman Butt (4) met the same fate, albeit due a much more impressive catch by Sangakkara.

Pakistan resumed after lunch with not much more success. Younis Khan tried to rotate the strike, but found his plan backfiring to the effect of his dismissal for 4, then Inzamam was trapped in front of the stumps with just 1 run to his name.

At the fall of Malik for 17, the score read 47/5. Mohammad Yousuf contributed 26 from the number seven position, and helped the score to 82, but was ultimately Lokuarachchi’s lone victim on the day.

Razzaq was united with Akmal and they continued with the precedent Razzaq had set with Yousuf. Having come together in the 32nd over, the two batted until the 45th to ensure that victory was safely in Pakistan’s grasp. Safety achieved, Razzaq finished the game with two boundaries and a six in a delightful 3-ball burst.

Pakistan now lead the series 1-0 with one more game to be played.

Sri Lanka 130
Tillekeratne Dilshan 48*, Upul Tharanga 19
Naved-ul-Hasan 3/23, Iftikhar Anjum 2/13, Abul Razzaq 2/19

Pakistan 134/6
Abdul Razzaq 41*, Kamran Akmal 20*
Lasith Malinga 2/22

Pakistan won by 4 wickets.

Cricket Web’s Man of the Match: Abdul Razzaq (Pakistan; 41* and 2/19)

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