Malinga maligns Pakistan pursuit
Lasith Malinga again proved his importance to Sri Lanka as he helped bowl them to a series-levelling 25-run win over Pakistan in the second one-day international at Dubai.
Malinga claimed 3-36 from nine overs, crucially prompting a top-order collapse, as Sri Lanka defended 235 for seven by bowling out Pakistan inside 47 overs.
After Upul Tharanga led Sri Lanka’s batting effort with a steady 77, Malinga removed Mohammad Hafeez and Younus Khan to immediately undermine Pakistan’s pursuit at 11 for three.
Umar Akmal threatened to steal back the initiative with a blazing 91 from 102 balls but his side’s hopes evaporated when, after smashing a hat-trick of boundaries off Dilhara Fernando in the batting powerplay, he drove the next ball straight to mid-on.
Malinga struck twice in the first over of Pakistan’s chase as Hafeez, who became his 150th ODI wicket, and Younus edged behind to wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara. Imran Farhat was then lbw to Thisara Perera to have Pakistan reeling.
That brought Umar to the crease and, although he saw skipper Misbah-ul-Haq trapped in front by Fernando for 21 and Abdul Razzaq run out, he wrestled the advantage back his side’s way with a typically belligerent knock.
The right-hander looked on course for a century and, when he started blasting away against Fernando, the required scoring rate had dropped below a run a ball.
But Umar went for one shot too many, picking out Dinesh Chandimal with another full-blooded drive, to leave him cursing his inhibition. Malinga then had Sarfraz Ahmed lbw for 24 and Perera dismissed Umar Gul the same way, without scoring, for the third wicket of a powerplay that cost just 26.
Former skipper Shahid Afridi kept Pakistan’s flickering hopes alive with 29 off 14 balls but he was run out by a Tillakaratne Dilshan direct hit before Sangakarra also hit the stumps to catch last man Aizaz Cheema short and seal the win.
Earlier, half-centuries from Tharanga and Mahela Jayawardene ensured Sri Lanka improved greatly on the 131 they managed when beaten by eight wickets in Friday’s first match.
Openers Dilshan and Tharanga started positively against a new ball and added 56 in 68 deliveries before Afridi bowled the skipper for 28.
Razzaq followed up with the key scalp of Sangakkara, caught and bowled, which prompted Tharanga to drop anchor.
After Chandimal had been bowled by Saeed Ajmal, the opener eventually moved to a hard-fought, but rarely fluent, fifty when he found the ropes for the fifth time. After 100 balls at the crease his score was just 54, putting some pressure on Jayawardene to up the tempo.
He responded with two fours off Afridi, which inspired Tharanga to do the same off Ajmal as 48 came from the batting powerplay.
Afridi then had Tharanga caught at wide long-on and Pakistan successfully reviewed Cheema’s appeal to have Angelo Mathews caught behind.
Jayawardene reached a half-century off 56 deliveries but fell to the next ball for 50, bowled by Ajmal, who had Perera stumped in a final over that cost 17 for figures of 3-61.
The third of the five-game series is at the same venue on Friday.