Pakistan seal series lead

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A promising 106-run stand between Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara had Sri Lanka right on track for triumph in Friday's third ODI in Dubai, but ultimately Pakistan sniped a 21-run win to go two-one up in the five-match affair.

A promising 106-run stand between Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara had Sri Lanka right on track for triumph in Friday's third ODI in Dubai, but ultimately Pakistan sniped a 21-run win to go two-one up in the five-match affair.

Chasing a stiff target after Pakistan had collapsed from 151 without loss to 193 for five and ultimately settled on 257 for eight, Sri Lanka fluffed their captain and his predecessor's solidity at the top of the knock to succumb to 236 all out.

Shrugging off the early loss of Upul Tharanga, Dilshan and Sangakkara threatened to take seal the contest early in the pursuit, but the run-out of the latter for 45 promplty had Pakistan back in the game.

The introduction of Saeed Ajmal (three for 42), as has often been the case this tour, brought further breakthrough. The spinner stopped Dinesh Chandimal's 31-run cameo in its tracks, while Mahela Jayawardene was out soon after pipping 10,000 runs in ODI cricket.

With Dilshan back in the hut for 64 and the choice to use Lasith Malinga up the order as a so-called pinch-hitter failing, with Shahid Afridi striking twice, Sri Lanka fell from dominance to balance at 186 for six.

Instead of chasing leather, Angelo Mathews (32 not out) plotted his way through a measured knock, arguably too much so, and was eventually left shy of enough partners to truly kick into gear. Jeevan Mendis (19) afforded Mathews some support, but the return of Umar Gul (three for 48) had wickets falling at regular enough intervals and the asking rate ballooning to have Pakistan the ultimate victors.

Sri Lanka were left wondering what could have been had Sangakkara and Dilshan not contrived to run the former out and Mathews perhaps initially freed his arms for three or four overs.

Earlier Pakistan really should have gone a whole lot further, but utlimately made do with their 257 for eight.

Winning the toss, opting to bat first and racing to 151 without loss inside 30 overs on the back of half-centuries from Mohammad Hafeez (83) and Imran Farhat (70), the hosts then lost five wickets for 42 runs. Leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna and pace ace Malinga shared four victims.

Younis Khan (41) was left to pick up the pieces and did a fine job in shepherding the lower order, but what should have been a 280-plus total never arrived.

The teams will meet again for the fourth one-dayer on Sunday.

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