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Kusal, Chandimal help Sri Lanka draw level

Pakistan put a challenging score on the board, but Sri Lanka had answers for all questions

Kusal, Chandimal help Sri Lanka draw level - Cricket News
Kusal Perera celebrates his half-century.
Kusal Perera's quick-fire fifty and an unbeaten 48 from Dinesh Chandimal took Sri Lanka to a series-levelling two-wicket victory over Pakistan in the second One-Day International in Pallekele on Wednesday (July 15).

Chasing Pakistan's 287 for 8, Sri Lanka was 159 for 5 before recovering to cross the line with 11 balls to spare and levelling the three-match series 1-1.  

Kusal Perera got Sri Lanka off to a great start at the top of the order. His 50 came off 17 balls, just one less than AB de Villier's record for the fastest half-century, and matching his countryman Sanath Jayasuriya's feat. His first-wicket stand with Tillakaratne Dilshan was worth 92 off just 8.2 overs.  

Mohammad Irfan finally got the breakthrough as Kusal was caught by Yasir Shah. His 25-ball 68 included 13 boundaries and two sixes. 

Dilshan carried on, scoring 47. Sri Lanka was at 140 for 1 in the 19th over, when Pakistan triggered a collapse and four wickets fell for 19 runs.

It fell on Chandimal to steady things, and he did, even as wickets fell around him. He adding 37 for the sixth wicket with Milinda Siriwardana (26), 52 for the seventh with Sachith Pathirana (33) and 37 for the eighth with Thisara Perera.

Perera was eighth out when three more runs were needed for victory, but Lasith Malinga held his nerve as Chandimal completed the formalities. 

That Pakistan reached 287 was thanks to the late burst offered by Mohammad Rizwan. He smashed 52 off 38 balls, including five boundaries and a six as Pakistan added 88 runs in the last ten overs. He got good company from Anwar Ali, who joined him for a 56-run stand for the seventh wicket, and returned unbeaten on 29 off 20 balls.

Until then, the innings had been set up thanks to fifties from Azhar Ali, the captain, who made 79, and Shoaib Malik, who made a run-a-ball 51. The two added 83 for the fourth wicket even as the Sri Lankan bowlers kept things tight.

Pathirana and Malinga claimed two wickets each for Sri Lanka.

Pakistan won the first match in Dambulla by six wickets.

The third and final match will be at the Premadasa stadium in Colombo on Sunday.

To view full scorecard, please click here.

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