Wed, Jun 20, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Mathews steers Sri Lanka to victory over Pakistan

AFP, COLOMBO, SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews, right, plays a shot in their final one-day international against Pakistan on Monday in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Photo: Reuters

Angelo Mathews hammered a brisk 80 not out as Sri Lanka posted a thrilling two-wicket victory over Pakistan in the fifth and final one-day international (ODI) in Colombo on Monday to clinch the series 3-1.

Mathews smashed two sixes and four boundaries in his 76-ball knock to help his team achieve a 248-run target with two balls to spare in the day-night match.

One game was abandoned because of rain.

Sri Lanka needed 15 runs to win in the last over, bowled by paceman Mohammad Sami, before Mathews completed the win with a four.

Dinesh Chandimal was the other main scorer for Sri Lanka with 54.

Paceman Sohail Tanvir bagged three wickets and leg-spinner Shahid Afridi two to reduce Sri Lanka to 138-6 before Mathews received valuable support from Jeevan Mendis (19) and Nuwan Kulasekara (10 not out) to steer his team home.

“I haven’t had the opportunity to bat since the first game, but I was ready. I am glad I did it today in front of an amazing crowd,” said Mathews, who was named man of the match.

Afridi removed the well-set Kumar Sangakkara (40) and skipper Mahela Jayawardene off successive balls to put pressure on Sri Lanka.

Sangakkara, who was dropped on 25 by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed off Sami, failed to capitalize on the chance as he could add only 15 more runs.

Ahmed made amends when he smartly stumped Sangakkara off Afridi, who then held a return catch off his next ball to dismiss Jayawardene.

Tanvir jolted Sri Lanka when he removed openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga, but Sangakkara and Chandimal put on 78 for the third wicket.

“The way Mathews played he took the game away from us,” Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said.

“We were 15 to 20 runs short and again the fielding let us down. We have to forget this and improve our performance in the Tests,” he added.

Pakistan’s opener Imran Farhat, playing his first ODI in four months, earlier cracked 56 and Umar Akmal an unbeaten 55.

Pakistan batted steadily after losing out-of-form opener Mohammad Hafeez (6), with Azhar Ali (30) and Farhat adding 60 for the second wicket, and then Akmal putting on 61 for the fifth wicket with Misbah (32).

Akmal smashed two sixes and five fours in a 61-ball knock for his 15th half-century in ODIs.

Hafeez, who was bowled by paceman Kulasekara, scored just 20 runs in his last four ODIs.

Farhat dominated the Sri Lankan attack in the initial overs, twice hitting Kulasekara for three fours in an over.

He fell pulling seamer Thisara Perera to deep mid-wicket where he was caught by Chandimal, after smashing nine fours in his 12th half-century in ODIs.

Leg-spinner Mendis, playing his first match of the series, was the most impressive bowler with 2 for 30, while Kulasekara finished with 2 for 53.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan will now play a three-Test series, starting in Galle on Friday.

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