DUBAI: Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 21 runs in the third one-day international between the two South Asia cricket giants at the Dubai Cricket Stadium. Pakistan now takes a 2-1 lead in the five match series.
Pakistan had earlier set Sri Lanka a target of 258 runs off the allotted 50 overs. Sri Lanka got off to a shaky start with Tharanga being bowled out by Umar Gul for four. However, captain Dilshan and wicket-keeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara stabilised then innings.
Good performances from bowler Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal with Shahid Afridi pitching in helped Pakistan restrict Sri Lanka to 236 in the penultimate over of the match.
Openers Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Farhat hit attractive half-centuries before Sri Lankan bowlers checked Pakistan’s progress in the third day-night international at Dubai stadium here on Friday.
Hafeez made a 101-ball 83 and Farhat notched an 82-ball 70 to give Pakistan, who won the toss and batted, a sold 151-run start before Sri Lanka grabbed four quick wickets to restrict the innings to 257-8 in their allotted 50 overs.
Pakistan, aiming to bounce back in the five-match series after losing the second match by 25 runs here on Monday, lost track of a big total after losing four wickets in the space of 26 runs.
Pakistan won the first match, also played here last Friday, by eight wickets.
Hafeez, who took 26 balls for his first ten runs, hit paceman Dilhara Fernando for four boundaries in the 18th over to step up the tempo before he was finally bowled by spinner Seekkuge Prasanna in the 30th over.
Hafeez hit nine boundaries and a six during his 11th one-day half century.
Ten runs later Farhat followed, caught at long-on off Tillakaratne Dilshan. He hit six boundaries and a six.
Pakistan’s decision to promote Abdul Razzaq backfired as the allrounder hit Prasanna straight into the hands of long-on after scoring just six off 16 balls.
Pakistan was forced to take the batting power-play in the 36th over and managed just 22 runs losing Umar Akmal and Misbahul (seven each) but Younis Khan hit a fighting 52-ball 42 to ensure Pakistan cross the 250-mark.
Prasanna and Malinga finished with two wickets apiece.