Zeenews Sports Bureau
Pallekele: A clinical performance has helped Pakistan win rain affected match against Sri Lanka by 6 wickets in the first ODI. Chasing a low total, they lost Azhar Ali and Younis early, but Hafeez and Misbah held the innings together with a fifty plus stand, which was instrumental in their win.
With this win, Pakistan have now won 9 of their past 11 ODIs against Sri Lanka. This match also will be remembered as one of the longest matches played as it was interrupted thrice by rain today and not many overs were reduced. Sri Lanka's batting let them down and they will hope to put up a much better performance in the next ODI.
Rangana Herath got the wicket of Mohammed Hafeez but not before the opener had stitched together a crucial 51 runs partnership with captain Misbah ul Haq.
In chase of a revised target of 135, Pakistan lost two early wickets in the form of Azhar Ali (3) and Younis Khan (5) as the Sri Lankan new pace bowlers applied themselves on a very wet Pellekele track.
Pakistan bowlers bowled well to restrict Sri Lanka to 135/8 in a rain-curtailed 42-over match.
Earlier, rain stopped the match again when Pakistan were trying hard to wrap up the Sri Lankan innings as early as possible. Sri Lanka were tottering at 107/7 in 37 overs when rain interrupted the match for the second time.
Sensible batting by lower middle order, especially Lahiru Thirimanne, helped Sri Lanka cross 100-run mark. After 36 overs, Sri Lanka were 107/7.
Off-spinner Mohammad Hafiz took both the wickets to fall after Gul and Sami captured the first five wickets to fall.
He first got the wicket of Upul Tharanga (10) and after that brought end to the innings of Thissara Perera (17).
Sri Lankan top order failed miserably as they lost five wickets before they reached 50-run mark. When rain stopped play Sri Lanka were struggling at 48/5 in 17.4 overs.
Kumar Sangakkara (9), Dinesh Chandimal (0), Angelo Mathews (0)- everyone failed in front of pace duo of Gul and Mohammad Sami. Gul took three while Sami claimed two wickets.
Sri Lanka started poorly as they lost two wickets early. Umar Gul took both the wickets. First, he sent back Tillakaratne Dilshan for 5 and in the 6th over, he removed skipper Mahela Jayawardene for 3.
Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene won the toss and decided to bat first in the 1st ODI against Pakistan on Thursday.
Sri Lanka have included left-arm spinner Rangana Herath in their line-up. Lasith Malinga also returned to the side after missing the 2nd T20 International against the same opposition a few days back.
Paksitan, on the other hand, have brought up Azhar Ali in place of opener Imran Farhat. Paceman Sohail Tanvir, who had been asked to stay back after the T20Is, has also been included.
Sri Lanka: 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 6 Lahiru Thirimanne, 7 Angelo Mathews, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Rangana Herath, 11 Lasith Malinga
Pakistan: 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Azhar Ali, 3 Younis Khan, 4 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 5 Umar Akmal, 6 Shahid Afridi, 7 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 8 Umar Gul, 9 Saeed Ajmal, 10 Sohail Tanvir, 11 Mohammad Sami