It was a former Sri Lankan cricketer Russell Arnold who said while doing commentary that it was impossible to beat Pakistan on a Friday. His words turned out to be true after Pakistan beat all odds to down Sri Lanka by 21 runs and take a 2-1 lead in the 5 match series.
They say that lions hunt in pairs. The match belonged to the lion-hearted Pakistani openers who displayed their knack of scoring runs by batting sensibly. Both Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Farhat complimented each other by scoring runs in tandem. They scored 83 and 70 runs respectively, adding as many as 151 runs for the first wicket. Useful contribution from Younis Khan helped Pakistan post a competitive 257 runs for the loss of 8 wickets in 50 overs.
In reply, Sri Lanka recovered from the loss of in form Upul Tharanga as both captain Tillakaratne Dilshan and his predecessor Kumar Sangakkara took the score from 5 wickets for the loss of one wicket to 111. Dilshan top scored with 64 while Sangakkara made useful contribution with 45. But as it has happened recently, the lower order batsman of the opposing side couldn’t handle the variety of Pakistani spinners. Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal took 5 wickets between them as the hosts pegged back the islanders, whereas Umar Gul did the rest. He bowled well in the final overs to bowl them out for 236, taking his personal tally of wickets to 3. Although the all-rounders Sohail Tanvir and Abdur Razzaq didn’t take a wicket, they helped in putting the breaks on the Sri Lankan express.
Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez was declared Man of The Match for his all-round effort, but things could have been different. Had Angelo Matthews batted sensibly and rotated the strike just as he rotated his bats, Sri Lanka might have won the match. But that didn’t happen, because as they say, Thank God, It’s Friday!
Pakistan will now play Sri Lanka in Sharjah on Monday, the 20th of November.