Sangakkara, Perera lead Sri Lanka to crucial 44 run win
- 4th ODI at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo
By Dion Michael
Kumar Sangakkara struck a determined 97 and Thisara Perera took a hat trick as Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 44 runs on the back of another all round team effort in the fourth ODI at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Saturday.
Sri Lanka now leads the five-match series 2-1 after the third game was abandoned due torain.
Sri Lanka opted to bat first after winning the toss and they reached 243/8 in their 50 overs with some determined batting on a pitch which rendered run making difficult.
Upul Tharanga departed early for four in the third over of the innings when he was caught by Younis off Umar Gul with the total on 9.
Sangakkara and Dilshan added a watchful 55 for the next wicket before the latter was lbw to Mohamed Hafeez for 24. When Dinesh Chandimal was dismissed for 18, Sri Lanka had crawled to 90 for three in 25 overs and needed to raise the tempo.
Skipper Jayawardena joined Sangakkara and the host’s most experienced duo put on a vital 110 for the fourth wicket to bring the 200 up in the 43rd over. Jayawardena departed for 40 and Sangakkara followed shortly after just three short of his century but the Sri
Lankan tail was able to lift them to a competitive 243.
Pakistan had the worst possible start to the reply when they lost Hafeez in the first over without a run on the board – caught by Nuwan Kulasekera off Lasith Malinga.
Like Sri Lanka before them, Pakistan found run making difficult and they played cautiously. Asad Shafiq (24) added 53 for the second wicket with opener Azher Ali and then Misbah ul haq (57) continued the good work in a third wicket liaison of 113 with Azher.
At 166 for 2 in the 36th over, Pakistan were clearly in control but then there was a startling batting collapse as they proceeded to lose their next eight wickets for just 33 runs to crash to 199 all out and hand victory to Sri Lanka.
Malinga returned to claim the vital wicket of Misbah who was brilliantly caught by a diving Kulasekera. In the next over Kulasekera was in action again – this time as a bowler – as he removed the dangerous Umar Akmal who edged to Sangakkara for a duck.
Two overs later the drama began. Perera returning for a new spell brought off an amazing hat trick to destroy the Pakistani middle order. Perera opened with a dot ball and in the next he had Younis (1) edging to Sangakkara, Shahid Afridi fell for a golden duck when he hit his first ball straight to handimal at extra cover. In the hat trick ball Safraz Ahmed was brilliantly caught by Jayawardena at slip.
Perera had not quite finished yet. His fifth ball was another dot ball and in the last ball he ran out Sohail Tanvir.
Watching the mayhem from the other end was opener Azher Ali who carried his bat through the innings for an unbeaten 81 – his second big innings in a lost cause.
The fifth and final ODI is scheduled for Monday 18 June at the same venue.