Pakistan cruise to victory

Captains past and present combined for Pakistan to secure a three-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the fifth and final ODI in Abu Dhabi.

Captains past and present combined for Pakistan to secure a three-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the fifth and final ODI in Abu Dhabi.

A key 62-run stand for the third wicket between skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and his predecessor Younis Khan put Pakistan on the road to victory in pursuit of just 219.

Misbah (66) and Younis (34) upped the tempo and consolidated Pakistan's position of ascendency, but in truth the game was won by the bowlers, with Sohail Tanvir's four wickets and a wily spell from Saeed Ajmal restricting Sri Lanka to a total that was well below par.

The Sri Lankans have struggled with the bat throughout the series and having won the toss and decided to have a bat first up, Tillakaratne Dilshan would have been hoping his men could turn things around in what was a dead rubber, with Pakistan having already wrapped up the series. There was to be no such turn in fortunes, however.

The decision to bat almost immediately backfired with Upul Tharanga (3) caught behind off the bowling of Tanvir with the total on just 13.

Matters didn't improve either, with Dilshan (12), Dinesh Chandimal (7) and Chamara Silva (1) all departing before the 50 was on the board.

It was left, not for the first time, to Kumar Sangakkara to attempt to salvage matters and he found a willing ally in Angelo Mathews.

The two stepped up brilliantly with a 118-run partnership, although they were pegged back by the miserly spin of Ajmal, meaning that the innings never got into full flow.

Sangakkara hit a patient 78, but failed to push on to three figures as he was caught by Misbah off the bowling of Mohammad Hafeez.

Crucially, not long after Mathews (61) misjudged one from Ajmal, walking too far across his stumps and missing a straight one which crashed into his leg stump.

Despite a valiant effort of 25 off 18 from Thisara Perera, the Sri Lankan innings was devoid of the late surge it really needed, with Tanvir returning to wrap up the tail and ensure that Pakistan were tasked with chasing a comfortable total.

In reply, having got the innings off to a start with a boundary, openers Hafeez and Asad Shafiq went into their shells, at one stage failed to score for 23 deliveries. But with such a small total needed, they could almost afford to do so.

However, with the opening duo having departed, Misbah and Younis took control of proceedings, upping the scoring rate and taking the game out of the Sri Lankans hands. The visitors didn't do themselves any favours either, with Jeevan Mendis dropping Misbah at point when he was on just six.

Just as the duo had begun to take the game away from the Sri Lankans, Younis was trapped lbw by a Mendis delivery that kept low. Shoaib Malik entered the fray for just a single ball, adjudged lbw first up to a wrong 'un from Mendis.

Umar Akmal survived the hat-trick delivery by coming down the track and pushing to mid-off and it was that kind of energy and innovation that he continued to bring throughout his unbeaten innings of 61.

Misbah fell with the finish line in sight, top edging a reverse sweep and he was followed back to the pavilion in double quick time by Shahid Afridi (4) and Tanvir (1), both looking to prematurely end the game.

However, even with the glut of wickets, Pakistan were in such control of the game that, while the margin of victory was not what it should have been, Akmal was able to take them home without any further trouble.