Sri Lanka had a lot to cheer about on a sunny day at Lord’s as everything they touched seemed to turn into gold. With a hurricane start to their innings, regular wickets from their bowlers and a lively fielding display, Sri Lanka capped off a 19-run win over Pakistan on Friday. Pakistan had no answers to fiery spells from Lasith Malinga (3/17) and Muttiah Muralithan (2/28).
Earlier Sri Lanka’s openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya flayed the Pakistan attack. Dilshan played the aggressor’s role, using his newly-patented “Dilscoop” shot over the wicketkeeper to good effect.
Jayasuriya also looked strong in his 24-ball 26. Sri Lanka’s fifty came up off 36 balls, and the stage was set for a big score.
However, things took a U-turn for Sri Lanka when the spinners – Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal came on. Afridi struck in his first over, removing Jayasuriya and followed it up with Dilshan’s wicket. With the regular fall of wickets Sri Lanka managed only 150/7.
After the spinners bowled Pakistan back to contention their chase got off to a disastrous start with Salman Butt falling off the third ball. Shoaib Malik played a brief, stroke-filled innings hammering Angelo Mathews for three consecutive fours in his 3rd over.
Disaster struck when Pakistan lost Malik and Kamran Akmal in the 6th over. Pakistan hardly recovered from the double strike.
Younis Khan and Misbah ul-Haq tried to revive Pakistan’s hopes in a 66-run stand largely dominated by aggressive running.
Younis played the dominant role, handling like spinners with decisive footwork. However, Muralitharan ended Pakistan’s hopes by striking twice in his last over, with the wickets of Misbah-ul-Haq and Afridi.
With the asking rate soaring Younis skied one to depart for 50 and Pakistan ended on 131/9.