Pakistan chasing 311 lost Shejeel Khan in the fourth over, but Mohammad Hafeez (62), who hit a dazzling half-century that included eleven boundaries, six out of them came in his first 10 deliveries gave Pakistan a spectacular start. Ahmed Shehzad played the supporting act. He scored 56 runs that came off in 80 balls.
Hafeez- Shahzad took Pakistan to 114, but then came the big squeeze from the Sri Lankan spinners. Seekkuge Prasanna, who was playing his first ODI since December flourished with the ball, besides being electric in the field. Prasanna and Rangana Herath exploited the help in the surface to string together loads of dot balls to pile the pressure on Pakistan.
After a six-over spell in which only 16 runs were scored, the wickets duly arrived. Hafeez missed a straighter one from Prasanna and was lbw for 62.
With only two genuine spinners in the line-up, Sri Lanka turned to the part-time tweakers of Tillakaratne Dilshan. He responded by getting the dangerous Umar Akmal caught behind off his first delivery.
Those wickets resulted in a galloping number of dot balls as Misbah-ul-Haq took time to settle and Shehzad couldn’t force the pace. By the 30th over, Pakistan had played out 100 scoreless deliveries.
The quick-thinking Sangakkara produced a breakthrough with another superbly anticipated catch down the leg side when Shehzad went for the lap sweep.
When the Powerplay came along, Sri Lanka belatedly decided that Herath should have the responsibility of bowling three overs in the Powerplay, and not Lasith Malinga. Herath delivered, first dismissing Misbah and then the hero of the first ODI, Sohaib Maqsood.
It wasn’t yet game over as Fawad Alam was still battling, and no one can tell what Shahid Afridi will do. Afridi began with some powerful boundaries, and with the spinners bowled out, Sri Lanka will have just started worrying when he holed out for 17. The tail didn’t last too long and Sri Lanka wrapped up a 77-run victory, though the match was tighter than the margin suggested.
Earlier, Sri Lanka batting first lost Tilakaratne Dilshan (13) and Kumar Sangakkara (11) inside 9 overs. Upul Tharanga (27) departed back to pavilion in the 11th over leaving hosts 3 down for 62.
But Mahela Jayawardene along with skipper Angelo Mathews carried the repair work providing 122-run stand. The two players kept the scoreboard ticking.
Mohammad Hafeez picked up two wickets during batting power play soon after Jayawrdene’s wicket. At the stage Sri Lanka were 194-6 but Mathews (93) and Thisara Perera took full toll of some wayward death bowling to power Sri Lanka to 310.
Perera batted with the strike rate of 180.55 to score 65 off 36 balls. He hit 5 fours and 4 sixes.