Pakistan batsman Ahmed Shehzad's outstanding century proved in vain, as Sri Lanka struck a two-wicket triumph in Friday's second ODI at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in the United Arab Emirates.
Batsman Ahmed Shehzad's outstanding century proved in vain, as Pakistan slipped to a two-wicket defeat in Friday's second ODI at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Sri Lanka didn't boast the highest run-scorer or the leading wicket-taker, but still managed to level the series one-all amid another tight contest in the United Arab Emirates this week.
What the series opener in Sharjah started this fixture in the neighbouring city continued, as the sub-continental big guns traded telling blows in the Gulf. This five-match affair, indeed, has the makings of an absolute humdinger.
Skipper Angelo Mathews' decision to bowl first after winning the toss was questionable, as Pakistan romped to a formidable total of 284 for four on the back of Shehzad's ton.
The young opener continued a remarkable stretch of form with a 124-run vigil that featured only eight fours – and spanned a full 189 minutes and 140 deliveries, each one tended to with mature precision.
Captain Misbah-ul-Haq and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, meanwhile, weighed in with a complementary 59 not out and 32 respectively. The hard-hitting Shahid Afridi, later, struck a cavalier cameo to truly test the eight-man opposition attack.
Sri Lanka's reply didn't sport a centurion or even a score as high as that of Misbah, but garnered enough momentum to ensure victory with two deliveries to spare.
Former and current captains vast and varied contributed important innings, with the left-handed Kumar Sangakkara, right-handed Tillakaratne Dilshan, T20I leader Dinesh Chandimal and ODI skipper Angelo Mathews moving to 58, 40, 44 and 47 respectively.
Mathews, in fact, was named Man of the Match for a cool, calm and collected innings that defied adversity and pressure. Seamer Junaid Khan, for his three key wickets, couldn't add a fourth – and leg-spinner Afridi failed to convert an important brace into a match-winning three-for.
The third ODI will get underway at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday. The Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi will host fixtures four and five.
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