Pakistan have won the five-match ODI series 3-0 with two games to go. They comfortably chased down 209 in the last match as debutant Imam-ul-Haq scored a century on debut.
The visitors suffered yet another batting collapse which ensured that they could not post a good score, eventually stuttering to 208 all out. Sri Lanka are doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.
The third match was both teams just going through the motions, with Sri Lanka looking dejected and defeated. Will Pakistan hand them another whitewash?
Upul Tharanga (c), Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Milinda Siriwardana, Chamara Kapugedera, Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando, Akila Dananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lahiru Gamage
Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Fahim Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees, Junaid Khan, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Usman Khan
Where the Teams Stand
At this point, Sri Lanka might as well just give Upul Tharanga 50 overs to bat alone and see where he can get them. The ODI captain has been the only one who has looked comfortable in the middle, standing tall amidst the mess that is his batting lineup. He scored a century in the second ODI and a 61 in the third, amassing a large part of his teams runs.
The thing about this defeat that will bother the Lankans more than the others is that they got off to a good start this time, looking decent at 102-1, before falling to 208-10. Including perhaps, one of the worst batsman in recent history to play 100 ODIs in their lineup did not help. Sri Lanka look aimless, unable to compete with international standards of cricket.
A subcontinental nation playing spin this badly is unprecedented. First Yadav and Chahal, and now Hasan Ali are too good for a side that has produced two of the finest spinners the world has ever seen. The latter took 5-34 to derail the Lankan batting beyond the point of return.
Sri Lanka only took three wickets in their turn to bowl, allowing Pakistan to stroll to victory well past the 40th over. Suranga Lakmal was inexplicably dropped, replaced by Chameera, who went wicketless. The bowling looks toothless against a resolute Pakistani batting, who have now had three centurions in three matches.
Since the start of the tour, the onus has always been on the batsmen because the bowling was considerably weaker, and this was even when Herath was part of it. Without him and Nuwan Pradeep, the team have struggled to take wickets. If they keep playing like this, Pakistan will have no problem dispatching them 5-0
Pakistan were back to being dominant after a slightly off day in the second ODI. Their batting is gelling together well, a health sign which compliments their successful bowling attack. Where Sri Lanka have been reduced to a one-man batting lineup, Pakistan have proved their versatility without a major contribution from Babar Azam. Imam scoring a century on debut augurs well for the future of Pakistani cricket. Inzamam’s nephew is only 21 years old, with a bright future awaiting him. Zaman, Azam, and Hafeez all chipped in with 30 odd runs each to ensure that Pakistan clinched the match and the series, a contest that hasn’t exactly been hard fought.
Ali led the bowling onslaught with a five-wicket haul, crippling the Lankan run-flow. Youngster Shadab Khan picked up two wickets himself, continuing his good run from the second ODI, a performance which had earned him the ‘Man of the Match’ trophy. Taking nine wickets in a space of approximately 100 runs is normally a tough task, but the Sri Lankan batting will make it an easy proposition for the home side. Pakistan declined to celebrate their victory in the third ODI, showing a complete absence of any feeling resembling a sense of achievement. Bar a miracle, this team is unlikely to lose a match soon.
Can Pakistan move to 4-0 or will Sri Lanka bounce back? Let us know in the comments below.
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?