Weak-kneed batting and Sri Lanka crash to defeat
New-look Pakistan bounce back to win the first one dayer at Dambulla
Marlon Fernandopulle reporting from Dambulla

Mohammad Hafeez drives through the covers on his way to score 53 for Pakistan against Sri Lanka in their first one-day interenational match played at Dambulla. Pic by Ishara S.Kodikara

Sri Lanka put up a woeful batting performance and crashed to a humiliating 79 runs defeat to Pakistan in the opening game of the Bank Al Falah Cup at the Rangiri Dambulla Stadium yesterday.

Requiring 200 runs for victory on a wicket that was still good for batting, the Sri Lankans were skittled out for just 120 runs in the 44th over, losing their last seven wickets for only 22 runs.

It was again the brittle batting of the Sri Lankans that led to their downfall. Former captain Sanath Jayasuriya started the slide when he unnecessarily slashed at the first ball he received and Younis Khan held on to a good catch at second slip.

Marvan Atapattu (26) and Kumar Sangakkara (29) added 61 runs for the second wicket before Atapattu was adjudged leg before wicket. Sangakkara followed soon when he spooned a catch to Shoaib Malik at cover off Shoaib Akhtar and Sri Lanka slid to 75 for 3 in the 23rd over.

Vice captain Mahela Jayawardena began the repair work and appeared to be in good nick before he was adjudged leg before wicket by umpire Simon Taufel to a toe-crusher from Mohammed Sami that appeared to be going down the leg slide.

With the dismissals of the Lankan top four batsmen the onus was on the out-of-form Russel Arnold and wicket-keeper Romesh Kaluwitharana. Kalu lasted just five balls before he spooned a catch to mid-wicket off a Shoaib Malik delivery.

Arnold's woeful form continued as he scratched his way for over an hour and faced 49 balls for 13 runs. He never looked his usual self as he struggled to middle the ball all along.

After Kaushal Lokuarachchi and Chaminda Vaas ran themselves out it was curtains for the Lankans as they were bundled out for 120 giving their opponents even those extra bonus points. Earlirer Sri Lanka came up with a disciplined bowling performance to restrict Pakistan to 199 for 8 wickets in 50 overs.

Triangular to be shifted to Dambulla?
The organizers of theTriangular Cricket Tournament are seriously looking at shifting the matches from Colombo to Dambulla due to the heavy rains that are being experienced in Colombo.

According to the chief executive of the BCCSL Anura Tennekoon discusions with the three teams are already on and all three teams have agreed for the change of venue. However the logistics with regard to the players and other arrangements is something the organizers are concerned with.

The first round of the Triangular is currently being played at Dambulla. The matches are then scheduled to be played at the SSC and the finals at the R. Premadasa Stadium.

However with the heavy rains in Colombo and more forecast for this week there is a very strong possibility that the remaining matches will be shifted to the Dambulla Stadium.-MF

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