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15 March, 2012

Sri Lanka 188 All Out, Pakistan Need 189 Runs To Win

Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Mirpur

Pakistan seamers dent top order

The Report by Kanishkaa Balachandran
March 15, 2012
Sri Lanka 188/10 (45.4 over) 
Dodgy shot selection was the main cause for Sri Lanka conceding the third CB Series final and their opening match of the Asia Cup. Against a new opponent today, their familiar problems persisted, in their quest for quick runs after winning the toss in a pressure match. At least three of the four wickets fell to poor shots, raising questions of their approach.
Mahela Jayawardene chided himself for throwing his wicket away against India the other night while the going was good. With Aizaz Cheema getting a hammering from Tillakaratne Dilshan at the other end, Jayawardene tried to match his partner's crunching drives past the fielders on the off side, but perished scooping a drive to Mohammad Hafeez at extra cover.
Dilshan was harsh against the nippy pace of Cheema, thrashing any width outside the off stump with his tremendous bat speed and follow through. Misbah-ul-Haq was forced to make field changes, pushing point back and the next ball reinstating the fielder to his original position and pushing square leg back. It was a gamble which didn't backfire on the Pakistan captain. Cheema worked to a plan, cranking up his pace and shortening the length, forcing a circumspect Dilshan to withdraw an attempted pull and then weave away from one that fizzed past his helmet.
Cheema, who had earlier leaked 17 off his opening over, ensured he cut out the width to Dilshan. The batsman tried to launch him over the on side but instead produced a tame top edge to mid-on. Dinesh Chandimal, in the middle of a sudden slump, dabbed an Umar Gul delivery to Younis Khan, who judged the catch well at first slip.
Lahiru Thirimanne couldn't resist playing at a wide delivery from Hammad Azam, driving to Umar Akmal at backward point. Two of Sri Lanka's finds in Australia - Thirimanne and Chandimal - literally played into Pakistan's hands. It was left to the more experienced pair of Kumar Sangakkara and Upul Tharanga to consolidate.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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