Yasir Shah’s four wickets and Sarfraz Ahmed’s 77 innings led Pakistan to beat the hosts in third one-day international providing the visitors an edge of 2-1 in five ODI matches series on Sunday.
All-rounder Mohammad Hafeez made up for a year-long ban on bowling due to a suspect action with a polished 54 as Pakistan piled up 316-4 after electing to bat in the day-night match.
Leg-spinner Yasir shone with the ball as Sri Lanka were bundled out for 181 in 41.1 overs on a slow pitch at the Premadasa stadium.
The match was interrupted for 30 minutes in the second session with Sri Lanka on 158-7 when stones thrown apparently from outside the stadium landed on the field near a Pakistani fielder.
Match referee Javagal Srinath of India immediately ordered the players off the field as anti-riot police squads evacuated spectators from two blocks of stands near the giant scoreboard.
The match, which was witnessed by Pakistan batting great Zaheer Abbas — the current president of the International Cricket Council (ICC) — resumed after the short break and Pakistan completed a facile win to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.
Yasir Shah tore through the Sri Lankan batting lineup with two important wickets and economical bowling whereas debutant Immad Wasim and Anwar Ali contributed with two wickets each.
Sri Lanka were off to a flying start with their run chase, maintaining a healthy run rate as their batsmen kept the scoreboard ticking. However, Anwar Ali dealt an early blow to the Sri Lanka team when he dismissed Dilshan with a cleverly disguised slow ball, which was caught with ease by skipper Azhar Ali.
Anwar Ali proved to be the pick of the bowlers when he struck again shortly in the seventh over and dismissed Tharanga. Tharanga edged one out to wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed, who took the catch comfortably.
After eleven overs, Sri Lanka continues their run chase with two wickets down at 57-2
Muhammad Hafeez continued his impressive form with the bat and followed up his century in the first ODI by scoring a valuable 54 runs from 64 balls. During his innings, Hafeez stroked four boundaries to the fence for fours.
Sarfraz Ahmed, who proved to be Pakistan’s man of crisis during this year’s ICC Cricket World Cup, came to the crease and played a spectacular knock. His fast-paced though sensible knock consisted of four boundaries as he contributed 77 runs from 74 balls. Shoaib Malik and Sarfraz Ahmed’s partnership helped stabilize Pakistan and solidify their position in the match.
Shoaib Malik played an aggressive knock and put on 42 runs on the scorecard from 29 balls. Equally blistering was Muhammad Rizwan’s knock of 35 runs from 22 balls. His innings included a six and 2 fours.
Earlier, Ahmed Shahzad had scored 44 off 54 balls before falling prey to Malinga, giving deep midwicket catching practice to a fielder. Pakistan lost its first wicket at 93.
Skipper Azhar Ali had an unfortunate run-out with just one run away from his half century. He scored 49 off 59 balls.
Sri Lanka drew level in the five-match series in Pallekele on Wednesday after Pakistan won the opening match at Dambulla last Saturday.
Pakistan retained all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez after ICC banned him from bowling for a year due to illegal bowling action. Hafeez scored a century in the first game.
The tourists replaced batsman Babar Azam with debutant left-arm spinner Imad Wasim to bolster the bowling.
Sri Lanka picked an unchanged side.
Ninth-ranked Pakistan need a series win to remain in contention for a place in the eight-nation Champions Trophy in England in 2017.
Sri Lanka, currently ranked fifth, are assured of taking part in the tournament.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal, Milinda Siriwardane, Thisara Perera, Sachith Pathirana, Nuwan Pradeep, Lasith Malinga.
Pakistan: Azhar Ali (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Imad Wasim, Sarfraz Ahmed, Anwar Ali, Yasir Shah, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Irfan.
Umpires: Raveendra Wimalasiri (SRI) and Ian Gould (ENG).