MUTTIAH Muralitharan’s late knock proved crucial to Sri Lanka yesterday as it pulled off a 36-run victory in the first limited-over international against Pakistan, to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. Chasing a competitive 233 runs to win, Pakistan was precariously placed on 134-8 when tail-enders Umar Gul and Mohammad Aamer shared a stubborn 62-run stand that threatened Sri Lanka’s total at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium.
The resistance ended when Aamer was run-out for 23 and medium pace bowler Lasith Malinga bowled Gul for 33 with a yorker to win the match with five overs to spare.
Gul was Pakistan’s top-scorer after a spell in which he faced 21 balls with six boundaries.
Thilan Thushara was the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers returning figures of 3-29 while Muralitharan, who came back to the side after missing the three-match Test series because of injury, had 2-46 to bag the player-of-the-match title.
Batting first, Sri Lanka’s top order struggled on a Dambulla pitch that provided assistance to seam bowlers but a quick 32 from 15 balls by Muralitharan helped swell Sri Lanka’s total to 232 as he hit four boundaries and the only six of the Sri Lanka innings.
Anjelo Mathews was top-scorer for the hosts with 43 runs.
It was a disappointing effort by the Pakistan batsmen, who have yet to win a game in their tour of Sri Lanka. After losing the Test series 2-0, they also lost a 50-over warm-up game to Sri Lanka by 15 runs before the ODI series.
The average first innings total in Dambulla day games has been 175 runs and that looked to be the case again after Sri Lanka were restricted for 173 for seven in the 45th over before Muralitharan hit out.
Sri Lanka v Pakistan 1st ODI
SRI LANKA innings
U. Tharanga c Akmal b Razzaq 17
S. Jayasuriya c Aamer b Gul 15
K. Sangakkara c Afridi b Ajmal 36
M. Jayawardene run-out 33
C. Kapugedera c Akmal b Afridi 8
T. Samaraweera c Khan b Razzaq 10
A. Mathews c & b Aamer 43
N. Kulasekara c Razzaq b Aamer 16
M. Muralitharan b Aamer 32
T. Thushara not out 8
L. Malinga not out 4
Extras: (b-1, lb-4, w-4, nb-1) 10
Total: (nine wickets, 50 overs) 232
Fall of wickets: 1-31, 2-45, 3-93, 4-106, 5-125, 6-131, 7-173, 8-204, 9-223.
Bowling: Aamer 10-0-45-3 (nb-1, w-1), Razzaq 10-0-33-2 (w-1), Gul 8-0-46-1 (w-1), Ajmal 10-0-40-1, Khan 2-0-13-0 (w-1), Afridi 10-1-50-1.
K. Akmal b Thushara 20
S. Malik b Kulasekara 9
S. Afridi c Sangakkara b Thushara 27
M. Yousuf c Sangakkara b Kulasekara 4
Y. Khan c Mathews b Thushara 12
M. ul Haq c & b Muralitharan 9
F. Alam c Sangakkara b Jayasuriya 31
A. Razzaq lbw b Muralitharan 17
U. Gul b Malinga 33
M. Aamer run-out 23
S. Ajmal not out 0
Extras: (lb-5, w-5, nb-1) 11
Total: (all out, 44.4 overs) 196
Fall of wickets: 1-29, 2-41, 3-48, 4-73, 5-78, 6-95, 7-134, 8-134, 9-196.
Bowling: Kulasekara 7-1-30-2, Malinga 8.4-0-50-1 (nb-1, w-2), Thushara 8-0-29-3 (w-2), Muralitharan 10-0-46-2, Mathews 5-0-22-0 (w-1), Jayasuriya 6-0-14-1.