Sri Lanka 208 (Tharanga 61, Hasan 5-34) v Pakistan
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Pakistan’s spinners strangled Sri Lanka through the middle overs, allowing the seamers to pick up regular wickets to derail an innings that began positively. But as tidy as Shadab Khan and Mohammad Hafeez were, the evening belonged to Hasan Ali, who completed his third five-wicket haul. In the process, he also became the quickest Pakistani bowler to 50 wickets and Sri Lanka were bowled out for 208.
The openers had started brightly, as if liberated by not having a target to chase. Upul Tharanga’s touch looked to have never left him since he carried his bat in the previous game. He drove Junaid Khan and Rumman Raees regularly through the offside, his timing allowing him to score regular runs past mid-off. He put on 59 with Niroshan Dickwella in 10.5 overs – it was the first fifty partnership at the top of the order for Sri Lanka in seven games – but Hasan broke through just as it began to look ominous. He bowled Dickwella, who was slightly unfortunate considering the ball had kept low.
That, right there, was the end of the good times for Sri Lanka. They slowed down considerably, the new batsman Chandimal needing to settle and the set batsman Tharanga beginning to stutter. It seemed that Sri Lanka, having seen clumps of wickets fall early in the first two games, made a point of prioritising wickets in hand over run rate.
The result was a familiar sight. Pakistan’s spinners wrestled control of the middle overs and began to asphyxiate the batsmen. Chandimal made a painful 19 off 49 balls, and there was a sense of inevitability when he was out lbw after misreading a Shadab Khan googly.
Sri Lanka’s run rate, once over six, had dipped below four. Tharanga, not having played an aggressive shot for the best part of 20 overs, pulled a long hop from Shadab straight to deep square leg. With a dull sense of familiarity, the visitors began falling apart, again. No one was able to get used to the slowness of the Abu Dhabi pitch or throw the Pakistan spinners off their nagging lines and lengths.
The fast bowlers were back to finish off the middle order, with Chamara Kapugedera, Milinda Siriwardana and Jeffrey Vandersay all falling within 12 balls. Hasan and Junaid were the men responsible, making all three batsmen mistime their shots. Suddenly, Sri Lanka were 141 for 6 in 36 overs, and even 200 seemed an eternity away.
Hafeez got rid of Thirmanne – a particularly unfortunate dismissal as he cut a ball onto his boot which then ballooned into the wicketkeeper’s gloves. Hasan removed Akila Dananjaya to wrap up his third five-wicket haul of the year and leave Sri Lanka reeling at 163 for 8.
A late flurry from Thisara Perera, finding five fours in his 37-ball 38 to drag Sri Lanka past 200 while Pakistan’s fielding disciplines fell apart – several mistakes on the boundary allowed ones and twos to be turned into many more.
Hasan restored the upper hand, snuffing out the resistance of tailender Dushmantha Chammera and ensured Sri Lanka couldn’t put up a total closer to what they would have aimed. Thisara was the last man dismissed, run-out while trying to look for a non-existent second run. Pakistan had knocked Sri Lanka over within 50 overs again. In a few hours’ time, they may have knocked them out of the series.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo