Sri Lanka crush Pakistan by 129 runs, level series

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> A resilient Sri Lanka produced a clinical display to crush Pakistan by 129 runs in the second one dayer to level the three-match cricket series 1-1.

Updated: January 21, 2009 14:41 IST
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A resilient Sri Lanka produced a clinical display to crush Pakistan by 129 runs in the second one dayer to level the three-match cricket series 1-1, on Wednesday.

Put into bat, the islanders first amassed 290 runs for eight wicket with Tillakaratne Dilshan (76) and Thilina Kandamby (59) laying the foundation and Chamara Kapugedera providing the late flourish with his 39-ball cameo of 44.

Sri Lankan bowlers then complemented the effort of their batting colleagues by skittling out Pakistan for 161 in 34.5 overs for a series-equalling victory.

For the hosts, Salman Butt (62) and captain Shoaib Malik (54) hit defiant half-centuries but it was not enough in the end.

Spin partners Muttiah Muralitharan (3/19) and Ajantha Mendis (3/29) shared six wickets between them to sink Pakistan.

The teams now move to Lahore for the series-deciding third and final ODI on Saturday.

Pakistan's chase looked doomed right from the start after they lost top three batsmen, including veteran Younis Khan (4) and vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq (1), for just 17 inside four overs.

Malik and Butt put on 108 runs for the fourth wicket to rekindle Pakistan's hopes before both departed in successive overs, snared by Muralitharan and Sanath Jayasuriya respectively, to leave the team in the doldrums again.

Butt's 87-ball 62 had six boundaries in it while Malik hit five fours and a six in his brisk 52-ball 54.

Earlier, Sri Lanka got off to a strong start with Dilshan and Jayasuriya (19) belting Shoaib Akhtar for two fours each in a productive over which prompted Malik to promptly replace the pacer.

Dilshan and Jayasuriya had added 43 when misfortune struck Sri Lanka. Trying to push an Umar Gul delivery through cover, Jayasuriya tinkled the stump with his back foot to dislodge the bails. This was the first time that Jayasuriya fell to a hit-wicket dismissal in his 426-ODI career.

Bad luck continued to haunt Lanka and Kumar Sangakkara (16) fell run out, leaving the visitors at 66 for two.

The twin setbacks, however, had no impact on Dilshan, who played his characteristic hard-hitting game while Kandamby played second fiddle.

Kamran Akmal also helped Lanka's cause by spilling Kandamby off Shahid Afridi when the batsman was on 16. Having put on 99 runs with Kandamby, Dilshan threw his wicket when he miscued a pull off Shoaib Akhtar to return after an 88-ball 76 which included 11 fours.

Kandamby went on to complete his maiden fifty before falling to Iftikhar Anjum after a 79-ball 59 which had four boundaries in it.

Out-of-form Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene (24) got a start but could not convert it and was snared by Gul but with Chamugedera in a murderous mood, the Lankan innings got the impetus in the end which propelled them to the 290-mark.

Kapugedera smote Sohail Tanvir over cover for a flat six and sent a Gul delivery over long on for a similar result in the last over of the innings.

Gul settled score in the next delivery, removing the batsman but not before Kapugedera had taken the side near the 290-mark. Gul finished with four for 58.

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