Pakistan were unable to withstand a Thisara Perera all-round show and, despite a career-best 96 by opener Azhar Ali, lost by 76 runs at Pallekele in the Bank Alfalah presents Mobilink Jazz Cup second One-Day International (ODI).
The hosts, spurred by Tillakaratne Dilshan’s unbeaten 119, piled up 280 for four off their quota. Dilshan was supported by captain Mahela Jayawardena who, coming in at number five, scored 53 off 48 balls. Perera then provided some fireworks late in the innings, hitting two sixes and as many fours in his 14-ball 24.
The all-rounder then returned with career-best figures of six for 44, the best ODI figures by any bowler against Pakistan, as starts were thrown away. Sri Lanka, with brilliant catching, remained in control under lights.
Perera, deservingly, was named man of the match for his performance.
“It is a 50-50 pitch,” said the all-rounder. “You can hit and you can get wickets as well. I really enjoyed myself in this game as I could play my natural game. Now it’s 1-1 in the series and, despite the manner of the win tonight, we have to carry this performance forward with three matches to go.”
Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq, meanwhile, remained a disappointed man, seeking an improved in all three departments to come back strongly in the series.
“Sri Lanka played really well,” he said. “Their opening partnership was very good. Dilshan, Mahela and then the late flourish at the end. The pitch was very good too. We started well but when Umar Akmal and myself were dismissed, the game turned.
“We have to work really hard in all three departments as Sri Lanka were better than us in all three departments.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2012.