Hasan Ali, spinners reduce Sri Lanka to 173

Sri Lanka 173 (Thirimanne 62, Lakmal 23, Hasan 3-37, Imad 2-13, Shadab 2-29) v Pakistan
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No matter what they try, it doesn’t seem to work for Sri Lanka. They made three changes to their starting eleven, won the toss and batted first with an unmistakeable air of freedom, the series having been lost 3-0. Yet they turned in their most limp batting performance of the series, falling apart for 173 with 6.2 overs still to play. Lahiru Thirimanne was the only batsman who managed a score of any significance, with 62, but Pakistan’s bowlers put in an excellent joint performance – three of them took at least two wickets each – to establish the hosts’ clear dominance at the half-way mark.

It began when skipper Upul Tharanga was bowled for a second-ball duck, debutant Usman Khan producing a wonder ball that ripped through the gap between bat and pad. Niroshan Dickwella began to attack the opening bowlers, carting Usman for consecutive fours and hitting Junaid Khan for six over fine leg. He was taking risks, though, and he pushed it a bit too far when he tried to go over the infield on the off side, cover point taking a simple catch.

Inevitably, the run rate began to slow down with Dinesh Chandimal and Thirimanne at the crease; the two batsmen have the lowest and fifth lowest ODI strike rates respectively. It was – unforgivably – a run out that broke the partnership, Chandimal the casualty. That brought highly-regarded debutant Sadeera Samarawickmara to the crease, but he only lasted two balls, Imad Wasim beating him on the angle as the ball broke the stumps.

Sri Lanka had slipped into default mode now, the run rate dropping sharply as they attempted to build a partnership of substance. It wasn’t to happen for Milinda Siriwardana, the struggling allrounder dismissed after attempting an unnecessary pull shot that carried to fine leg. The visitors had lost half their side for 91.

Now Shadab Khan entered the party, removing Seekkuge Prasanna and Thisara Perera off successive balls to leave Sri Lanka in dire straits, with seven wickets down before they had reached three figures. Akila Dananjaya, who has been stoic in the lower order, hung around with Thirimanne as they attempted to reach what might be a competitive score. The last three wickets did add 74, but it appears merely to have saved Sri Lanka some extra embarrassment rather than having any impact on the scoreline. If you thought they’d hit rock bottom after the previous game, you may want to look away now.

More to follow…

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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