Afridi starts as Pakistan thump Sri Lanka

Courtesy: International Cricket Council

Leg-spinner Shahid Afridi capped an excellent return to international cricket with three wickets as Pakistan thumped Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the first day-night match here on Friday.

Afridi took 3-27 in his first match since returning from a six-month exile, helping Pakistan dismiss Sri Lanka for a paltry 131 in 40.3 overs before Younis Khan and Imran Farhat hit fifties to anchor the chase at Dubai stadium.

Pakistan lost Mohammad Hafeez (five) in the second over of their innings but Farhat added 103 for the second wicket stand with Younis Khan (56 not out) to ensure a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

Farhat hit leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna for his seventh boundary to reach his ninth one-day fifty but with only 17 needed he was trapped leg-before wicket by paceman Suranga Lakmal for 50.

Younis, whose fifty was his 45th in one-dayers, took the team past the target in just 21.5 overs. He hit seven boundaries during his 57-ball knock.

Pakistan were on course for a comprehensive win thanks in large part to Afridi, who finished with 3-27 and was ably supported by Saeed Ajmal (2-21) and Mohammad Hafeez (2-24) as Sri Lanka lost their last seven wickets for 54 after opting to bat.

Dinesh Chandimal top-scored with 28 while opener Upul Tharanga (25) and Mahela Jayawardene (24) were other notable scorers but none went on to make a big score against some lethal spin bowling.

Sri Lanka lost Tillakaratne Dilshan in the second over of the match, bowled by paceman Aizaz Cheema for four.

With their captain back in the pavilion, Sri Lanka did not recover as wickets continued to fall, in-form Kumar Sangakkara falling for five after struggling through 24 deliveries.

Chandimal and Tharanga added 30 for the third wicket before Pakistan’s spinners ran riot, grabbing the last seven wickets for a mere 54 runs.

Afridi, who only last month decided to go back on a decision to retire from international cricket in protest at being sacked as one-day captain, struck in his first over of the match.

Chandimal hit him for a six off his fourth ball, but the leg-spinner had him leg-before the very next ball. Chandimal hit two sixes and a four off 31 balls.

The 31-year-old Afridi then dismissed Prasanna (five) and Lasith Malinga (11) during his incisive 9.3 overs spell.

Jayawardene and Tharanga were the others to provide some resistance but they too departed to spinners.

The second match will also be played in Dubai on Monday. The remaining matches are scheduled for Dubai (November 18), Sharjah (November 20) and Abu Dhabi (November 23).

The teams will also play a Twenty20 in Abu Dhabi on November 25.

  • PremasiriS

    Sri Lanka’s problem mainly lies with the incompetence of selectors. The selection committees (of last15-20) have predominated by bowlers who have represented the country quite by chance than their skills. They have had no clue of what to look for in a player as a result, very ordinary players have been allowed to represent the country for too long than they really deserved. For these short comings on the part of selectors appointed, the quality batsmen (those who have had total control over all strokes they play) were forced to retire earlier than they should have been. The technically correct batsmen were considered as useless. Therefore the quality batsmen the class of Roy Dias, RanjanMadugalle, Roshan Mahanama, Hashan Thilakarathne & Marvan Atthapatthu were allowed to retire earlier than they actually wanted to.Instead the batsmen the likes of Arjuna Ranatunga, Asnka Gurusinghe, Jayasuriya, Kaluwitharana who lacked in above skills and who were never in position to play a risk free innings were considered as indispensable batsmen.When batsmen known for reckless hitting are used as frontline batsmen this kind of collapses are quite inevitable.

  • PremasiriS

    Before dropping anybody it is the selectors that should be kicked out 1st. The selectors of last 2-3 decades seems to have no clue when it comes for picking players, that is why they’ve always preferred fleet footed batsmen known for reckless hitting as top order. The front-line batsmen should have the class of Jonathan Trott who has total control over all strokes he executes. To get full control over any bowling attack one must have to have a sound technique ( ability to stroke the ball all along the ground, all around the wicket right from the middle of the bat and leave balls there to be left alone)combined with lightning reflexes.The perfect application and correct shot selection is another essential factor.The SLan top order has no clue how to bat under trying circumstances, that’s why they try to defend balls that have to be attacked and do the vice versa when there is a ball to be defended. When picking batsmen one should give preference to players who’ve maintained consistency from very young age as 15. An inconsistent player once, is inconsistent always.

  • PremasiriS

    Our selectors have lot to learn from there counter parts in Pakistan when it comes to pick bowlers; even so the probability is more that they would never ever learn. The bowlers have to be tall & strong with perfect relaxed easy action. Unfortunately, the bowlers they have slways picked are players who’ve done nothing even at Domestic & Junior levels. e.g. (1.)Herath who has been in every National side (1st & 2nd XIs) for the last 10 years is a very ordinary performer who needs batsmen’s foot-holds to spin the ball and can’t extract bounce of the wicket as he is being short in stature. (2.)Though Samaraweera has been adjudged as the Best Schoolboy Cricket of the Year for 2 successive years (1994&95)purely for his batting provens, he was 1st brought into the National 1st XI side as a bowler and sent to bat at No 11.It is this kind of ignorant persons that have been in office, as selectors, for the last 2 decades or more. The bowlers of today ought to have many variations. Even though other countries include talented 15 year olds in their U19 sides & 16-19 year olds in their 1st XI teams, our selectors have asked our promising young ones to come up in the ladder due to their incompetency of picking talent. By the time they would reach the top, they would have lost vigor & enthusiasm they had as youngsters.