Sri Lanka level ODI series

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Upul Tharanga's patient 77 and Lasith Malinga's pinpoint bowling allowed Sri Lanka to level their one-day series against Pakistan with a 25-run victory.

Upul Tharanga's patient 77 and Lasith Malinga's pinpoint bowling allowed Sri Lanka to level their one-day series against Pakistan with a 25-run victory on Monday.

Tharanga anchored the innings with his 120-ball knock to prevent a similar collapse to the one Sri Lanka suffered in the first ODI, while Mahela Jayawardene added some late ballast to see Sri Lanka to a decent total of 235 for seven on a slow track.

Malinga then struck twice in his first spell to put Pakistan's chase on the back foot, and even a fine 91 from Umar Akmal and a late blitz from Shahid Afridi couldn't undo the damage as they were bowled out for 210 in 46.3 overs.

Malinga had both Mohammad Hafeez and Younis Khan caught behind in the opening over of Pakistan's reply, while Imran Farhat also departed cheaply to leave Pakistan reeling on 11 for three.

Akmal slowly rebuilt the innings and received patchy support from the middle over, before opening up in the final stretch as he threatened to win the match single-handedly for Pakistan.

However he was eventually caught going for one big stroke too many as he hit Dilhara Fernando straight to mid-off after a string of three consecutive boundaries.

Afridi kept Pakistan's hopes alive with a 14-ball blitz that brought him 29 runs, but when he was run out by Sri Lankan skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan the match was up and Pakistan's chase petered out.

Malinga finished with figures of three for 36 from his nine overs.

Dilshan had won the toss and opted to bat first, and although he started his own innings sluggishly he put on 56 for the first wicket with Tharanga to provide some sort of platform.

Legspinner Afridi was the man to end it, bowling Dilshan with the slider to put the skids under Sri Lanka as he and Saeed Ajmal made scoring tricky.

Sri Lanka crawled through the middle overs of their knock after Abdul Razzaq had accounted for Kumar Sangakkara and Ajmal had bowled Dinesh Chandimal, but the arrival of Jayawardene changed the tone as he and Tharanga put on 85 for the fourth wicket in less than 15 overs.

Again it was Afridi who broke the stand, as Tharanga was caught at long-on as he went in search of the boundary.

Jayawardene's fifty came off 56 balls, but he was out to his next delivery when he gave himself too much room and was bowled by Ajmal.

Sri Lanka's innings failed to finish with a bang, but they nevertheless put enough runs on the board to level the series at one apiece with three matches to play.

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