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Sri Lanka plays for pride in Hambantota

Pakistan has wrapped up five-match ODI series

Sri Lanka plays for pride in Hambantota - Cricket News
Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik (L) is congratulated by Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews (C) after their victory in the fourth One Day International (ODI) match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo on July 22, 2015. Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the fourth one-day international in Colombo on Wednesday to take a decisive 3-1 lead in the five-match series. AFP PHOTO / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LA
Pakistan has ensured itself a series win, but a drop in intensity is unlikely when it takes on Sri Lanka in Hambantota for the fifth and final One-Day International on Sunday (July 26).

Pakistan, riding on Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad's batting prowess, went past the target of 257 set by Sri Lanka in the fourth ODI on Wednesday to attain an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.

Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lanka captain, will want his bowlers to step up, after only three – Lasith Malinga (1 for 46), Suranga Lakmal (1 for 50) and Milinda Siriwardana (1 for 28) – out of the seven bowlers he used in the previous match managed to make a breakthrough in that match.

"There was no real penetration in our bowling attack," admitted Mathews, speaking after the match. "Hopefully we can rectify it. We need to play positive cricket and get out of hits hole we have dug ourselves in."

The Sri Lankan batting has been solid, except in the third match, when Pakistan restricted the home side to 181 in a chase of 317. Lahiru Thirimanne, the opener, and Dinesh Chandimal have done well for Sri Lanka, with Kusal Perera too chipping in.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has got a lot of things going for it, with Rahat Ali, Anwar Ali and Irfan Khan leading the pace attack and the likes of Yasir Shah, the legspinner, operating effectively in the middle overs.

Hafeez is the highest run-getter of the series so far, having scored 236 runs at at an average of 59.00 in the four matches. His century – 103 off 95 balls – gave Pakistan a six-wicket win in the first ODI in Dambulla. Hafeez is closely followed by Shehzad and Azhar Ali, the captain, who have ensured solid batting performances for Pakistan throughout the series.

From the qualification point of view for the Champions Trophy, the series win is crucial for Pakistan, who, with 90.4 rating points in the International Cricket Council's ranking system, is now two points ahead of West Indies (88.4 points).

This is the first time Pakistan has won a series in Sri Lanka since 2006 and the ODI series will be followed by a two Twenty20 Internationals between the two sides on July 30 and August 1.

Teams (from):

Sri Lanka:
Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Upul Tharanga, Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Thisara Perera, Milinda Siriwardana, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Ashan Priyanjan, Sachithra Senanayake, Sachith Pathirana.

Pakistan: Azhar Ali (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Anwar Ali, Yasir Shah, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Asad Shafiq, Mukhtar Ahmed, Bilal Asif, Immad Wasim, Ehsan Adil.

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