Led by a superb allround effort by Pakistan one drop batsman and off spinner Mohammed Hafeez – 103 and 4 for 41 helped them come out of the bad dream of losing 3-0 to Bangladesh not so many moons ago, at the Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium. Last evening, Pakistan made 259 for 4 in [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

Hafeez makes short work of Lankan skills

First ODI at Dambulla

Led by a superb allround effort by Pakistan one drop batsman and off spinner Mohammed Hafeez – 103 and 4 for 41 helped them come out of the bad dream of losing 3-0 to Bangladesh not so many moons ago, at the Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium.

Last evening, Pakistan made 259 for 4 in 45.2 overs to seal the win by six wickets.

Man of the match, Hafeez celebrates the ton - Pix by Amila Gamage

From the word go, the Lankan attack was pedestrian. Paunchy Malinga who used the new ball wasted it with a spate of unimaginative deliveries akin to that of a novice. So, when the trump card was going hay-wire what could one expect from the rest Lankan bowling flock. As a combination, they bowled badly. At times one even thought the choices of skipper Angelo Mathews was prudent enough. All in all the Lankans did very little to avert the defeat.

The Lankan attack was mostly exposed by the experienced Pakistani duo Hafeez and Sohaib Malik who remained unbeaten on 55 at the end and also lofted Tillekeratne Dilshan for six to bring up the victory.

Going in search of the Lankan target of 255 for 8 – a run rate of 5.10, the Pakistani opener Azhar Ali and Ahmed Shehzad countered the Lankan opening attack of Lasith Malinga and Suranga Lakmal with consummate ease. Somehow, the Lankan managed to get the breakthrough before they reached fifty when wicket-keeper Dinesh Chandimal held on to a good catch while standing in close to the medium pace of Mathews off the blade of Ali who made 21.

A while later Lakmal removed Ahmed Shehzad for 29 – once again Chandimal holding on to a snick off the bat.

Then one-drop batsman Mohammed Hafeez who literally bound the Lankan line up with his bowling also took up the Pakistani cause with the bat. First he put on a 58 run stand for the third wicket with Babar Azam who made 25. The Lankan captain had to look to the part time spin of Tillekeratne Dilshan to trap the batsman in front when the two batsmen looked as if they were taking the fight out of the Lankan bowling attack.
Earlier in the day Pakistan won the toss and invited the hosts to take the first lease of the crease, on a hot, humid, windy morning and opened bowling with giant Irfan and Rahat Ali – two left arm operators. The Lankans began cautiously and also had the fortune of a no-ball reprieve when Irfan had stalwart Dilshan caught behind with a rising ball which the batsman just held out his bat.

The generally explosive Kusal Janith was faster than Dilshan, but, slow by his standards and it took him 24 balls to enter double figures.
Sri Lanka lost their first wicket in the third ball of the ninth over, with the introduction of off spinner Mohammed Hafeez when the left hander

Dinesh Chandimal stood above the rest as a batsman, but in a failed cause

pushed a no-shot and edged to first slip Mohammed Rizwan for 26, in 36 balls with four fours. For the Lankan it was setback because it was the time that the two batsmen, were looking to take control of the situation. Then Lahiru Thirimanne, who is looking for a long inning to pamper his ego, looked good for a while and put on a thirty run stand with Dilshan who by then had settled in to his old mould. Thirimanne was caught behind off medium pacer Anwar Ali for 23.

Another twenty nine runs later Mohammed Hafeez had his second scalp by forcing left hander Upul Tharanga to edge and get caught behind for 20, but, Dilshan who now has toned down with age, was building an inning which did no damage to his reputation. Yet, like a bad dream the off spinner kept on coming back. Seven runs later Hafeez foxed Dilshan to go on the back foot to a ball that he should have played on the front and beat him and rattled the stumps and put Sri Lanka to a tentative 118 for 4. Dilshan batted for 65 balls to make his 38 runs.

Then two new generation Lankan batsmen – skipper Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal batted with purpose and put on 82 runs for the fifth wicket before Mathews looking to loft leg spinner Yasir Shah was caught at long on by Babr Azam for 38. Mathews hit five fours and faced 54 balls.

After the departure of Mathews, Chandimal took over the responsibility and batted till the end to remain unbeaten on 65 facing 68 balls with a six and five fours and a strike rate of over 95 runs per hundred balls. . Chandimal also a found a good partner in debutant Milinda Siriwardena who made an impressive 22 runs in 21 balls with a six and two fours and help the Lankans score 65 runs in the last ten overs on a wicket that had good bounce as well as some help to spinners.


Sri Lanka innings
Kusal Perera c Rizwan b Mohammad Hafeez 26
(Looks to push, manages a thick edge to first slip)
TM Dilshan b Hafeez 38
(Jumps back in his crease to cut and
was beaten and bowled)
Lahiru Thirimanne c Ahmed b Anwar 23
(Good length ball outside off, tempted
into a loose shot)
Upul Tharanga st Ahmed b Hafeez 20
(Lunges outside his crease, beaten by flight)
Angelo Mathews c Azam b Shah 38
(Goes for a big hit against the turn and
gets a top edge to long-on)
Dinesh Chandimal not out 65
Thisara Perera c Rizwan b Hafeez 1
(Attempts to slice to third man, caught at first slip)
Milinda Siriwardana c Rizwan b Rahat Ali 22
(Goes for a drive and mistimes)
Seekkuge Prasanna c Hafeez b Rahat Ali 0
(Tries to slap away, gets caught at extra cover)
Lasith Malinga not out 4
Extras (b4, lb7, w6, nb1) 18
Total (8 wickets; 50 overs) 255

Did not bat: Suranga Lakmal
Fall of wickets: 1-44 (K. Perera), 2-82 (Thirimanne), 3-111 (Tharanga), 4-118 (Dilshan), 5-200 (Mathews), 6-204 (T. Perera), 7-244 (Siriwardana), 8-245 (Prasanna)

Bowling: Mohammad Irfan 10-0-41-0 (1nb, 1w), Rahat Ali 8-0-42-2 (1w), Anwar Ali 7-0-38-1, Mohammad Hafeez 10-1-41-4 (1w), Yasir Shah 10-0-46-1, Shoaib Malik 5-0-34-0 (3w)

Pakistan innings
Azhar Ali c Chandimal b Mathews 21
(Attempts to drive, gets an under edge to keeper)
Ahmed Shehzad c Chandimal b Lakmal 29
(Flashes and feathers a simple edge to keeper)
Mohammad Hafeez c and b T. Perera 103
(Jumps down the track goes for a pull,
gives a simple catch to the bowler)
Babar Azam lbw b Dilshan 25
(Goes for a sweep, misses and
struck in line with off stump)
Shoaib Malik not out 55
Mohammad Rizwan not out 20
Extras (lb1, w5) 6
Total (4 wickets; 45.2 overs) 259
Did not bat: Sarfraz Ahmed, Anwar Ali,
Yasir Shah, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Irfan
Fall of wickets: 1-47 (Ali), 2-65 (Shehzad),
3-123 (Azam), 4-198 (Hafeez)
Bowling: Lasith Malinga 8-0-56-0 (5w), Suranga Lakmal 5-1-21-1, Thisara Perera 8-0-32-1,
Angelo Mathews 5-0-22-1, Seekkuge Prasanna 9-0-72-0, TM Dilshan 8.2-0-45-1,
Milinda Siriwardana 2-0-10-0

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