Pakistan seal ODI series 2-0

Pakistan eased to a four-wicket win in the third and final ODI at Colombo’s SSC ground, clinching the series 2-0 as they did so.

Hosts Sri Lanka required a win to level the competition, the opening match having been rained out, but after a prominsing start from Upul Tharanga and Chamara Kapugedera, opening for the first time in ODIs, Shahid Afrid’s brisk leg spin first tied the middle order down and second ripped it out.

With two run outs, both effected by Younis Khan in the covers, accounting for Kapugedera (50) and captain Mahela Jayawardene (31), Afridi’s spell saw the home side slide from 93 for one to 156 for 6. It needed an innings of trademark lower-order resilience and resourcefulness from Tillakaratne Dilshan (44) to rescue the Sri Lankans, as he and Farveez Maharoof (19) guided their side to 224 all out, Naved-ul-Hasan collecting two wickets in the final over.

Pakistan’s top order started brightly, as both Shoaib Malik and Imran Farhat struck boundary-studded 46s before falling to the off spin of Muttiah Muralitharan and Dilshan resepectively. Younis, at three, found it less easy to continue the brisk scoring rate, but neither Mohammad Yousuf nor Abdul Razzaq had such problems. Muralitharan’s three wickets – he claimed Younis and Inzamam-ul-Haq alongside the earlier scalp of Shoaib – cost 58 runs. The visitors coasted home with four wickets and 28 balls remaining when Razzaq clubbed Maharoof for the only maximum of the game.

Sunday sees the first of two Tests between the sides, beginning at the same Colombo ground, as Pakistan bid to close the gap upon England and India above them in the top three of the ICC Rankings.

Sri Lanka 224
Chamara Kapugedera 50, Tillakaratne Dilshan 44
Shahid Afridi 3-37, Naved-ul-Hasan 2-40

Pakistan 229-6
Mohammad Yousuf 53, Shoaib Malik 46, Imran Farhat 46
Muttiah Muralitharan 3-58, Tillakaratne Dilshan 1-20

Pakistan won by four wickets

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