By Srian Obeyesekere reporting from Sharjah
Pakistan won the fifth ODI by 9 wickets wiping off the 104-run target for the loss of Fakhar Zaman’s wicket for 48 with Imam-ul-Haq on 45 and Faheem Ashraf on 5 respectively for a 5-nil series triumph over Sri Lanka on Monday at the Sharjah Stadium. Pakistan reached the target in 20.2 overs after Sri Lanka was all out just past the halfway mark in 26.2 overs with Man of the Match paceman Usman Khan claiming 5 wickets for 34 runs off 7 overs. The top scorer for Sri Lanka was Thisara Perera who struck 25 off 29 balls having coming in as the eighth batter with the total on 63 for 7. His knock contained 3 boundaries and 3 sixes. The Man of the Series was Hasan Ali for a haul of 13 wickets.
Sri Lanka hit the trouble road losing 4 wickets in just 2.5 overs after being put in to bat by Pakistan against some lively bowling by paceman Usman Khan who had remarkable figures of 4 for 12 in 4 overs here at the Sharjah Stadium in the fifth and final ODI.
Trailing 4-nil and badly in need of a win to break a drought of 11 ODI losses on the trot, the sudden rot was a telling setback for Sri Lanka having opted to open the innings with newcomer Sadeera Samarawickrema to pair with skipper Upul Tharanga. But the gamble misfired with Samarawickrema lasting only 3 balls being comprehensively bowled by Usman Khan for a duck. 1 for 1 in 1.5 overs. It marked a bad ODI beginning to Samarawickrema’s career with two successive ducks in two matches. Next to go was Dinesh Chandimal caught by Sarfraz Ahmed off Usman Khan for a duck facing only one delivery; 2 for 1 in 6 balls. Skipper Upul THaranga was third out clean bowled by Usman Khan for 8 0ff 9 balls; Sri Lanka 3 for 8 in 2.3 overs. Niroshan Dickwella, who came in next at No.5 in a reshuffle of the batting order lasted two balls becoming Khan’s fourth victim LBW for nought and Sri Lanka had slipped to 4 for 8 in 2.5 overs. The slide continued when Milinda Siriwardena fell for 6 off 13 balls caught by Fakhar Zaman, the scorecard reading 5 for 20 in 6.3 overs. Khan’s stocks had soared in that early bout of just 7 overs with stunning figures of 5 for 12 in 4.3 overs. Lahiru Thirimanne remained on the other end on double figures as he was joined by Seekuge Prasannna with Sri Lanka requiring a herculean feat to get back in to the game. Literally before one could say Jack Robinson the game had swung Pakistan’s way inside of one hour’s play in sunny conditions with Pakistan spurred on by a partisan home crowd.
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-