Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI - 5 Talking Points

Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI – 5 Talking Points

Debutant Imam-ul-Haq scored a century to seal the series.

Imam-ul-Haq of Pakistan
Imam-ul-Haq of Pakistan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

The men in green have not only staged a comeback, they have made sure they do it in fashion. After getting a 2-0 thrashing from Sri Lanka in the Test series, that too in their own background, they have made the Lions realise that United Arab Emirates (UAE) is not their den. Pakistan sealed the 5-match ODI series today (October 18) by winning the 3rd consecutive match. While it is all but over for Upul Tharanga’s men now, he must ensure that he isn’t returning to the island nation with the baggage full of humiliation, which he is set to receive if a whitewash occurs,

Winning the toss, Tharanga decided to have a go at the Pakistani bowlers. But he must have known by now, the side effects of playing with fire. The frightened lions were wrapped up for 208. Such a target was never a challenging one, but Imam-ul-Haq’s ton made it look even simpler. A ‘no show’ from Tharanga’s bowlers helped the cause of the Pakistanis, who reached the target at the cost of just three wickets. Let us look at the 5 talking points from the match.

1. Hasan Ali’s five-wicket haul

Over the years, many young and talented pacers have sparked for Pakistan on their days, but most of them haven’t quite been able to continue their good run of form. Hasan Ali doesn’t fall into that batch of ‘once upon a time wonders’. The youngster makes every day his day, as he did today. Hasan was the main architect behind Sri Lanka’s batting collapse. After breaking the steady opening stand, Hasan never halted his wicket-taking spree, and went on to dismiss 4 more. Chamara Kapugedera and Niroshan Dickwella were undone by Ali.

2. Shadab Khan’s two crucial wickets

After looking at the scorecard, one is bound to conclude that Hasan Ali was the best bowler from the match. But a time when the Lankans were looking firm and steady at 102/1, it was the trusted spinner of Sarfraz Ahmed who did the trick. Shadab first broke the crucial partnership, by dismissing Dinesh Chandimal. But Sri Lanka’s main hope, their skipper Upul Tharanga was still in the crease. Batting on 61, it appeared as if Tharanga will get to his 16th ODI ton. But not when the bowler is Shadab, who took the two most crucial wickets to change the complexion of the game completely.

3. Upul Tharanga’s one man show

For the umpteenth time, Upul Tharanga played the part of a lone wolf in this horrific Sri Lankan batting lineup. Though it wasn’t of much use keeping in mind the outcome of the game, but if we omit his well-constructed 61 from the scorecard, Sri Lanka would’ve had to digest some more criticism. His innings comprised of 5 boundaries.

4. The perfect debut of Imam-ul-Haq

If anyone want’s to know the meaning of a perfect debut, the person should watch the replays of today’s game. Every cricket pundit would’ve predicted a victory for Pakistan after the batting collapse from Lanka, but who would have known that a certain 21-year-old debutant will take Pakistan over the line? Imam-ul-Haq‘s ton in his debut has justified why the selectors picked him in the team which has no dearth of openers. Had Imam not been there, the game might have been a little more competitive, as the man from Lahore didn’t allow the Lankans to stand a chance. His ton was filled with 5 boundaries and 2 sixes. Remember the name, there’s surely more to come from his bat in near future.

5. Chamara Kapugedera’s horrific injury

Amidst a very much one-sided game, the one incident which made the fans look tense was when Sri Lankan cricketer Chamara Kapugedara suffered a scare. Wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella threw the ball towards the walking cricketer, who wasn’t aware that a ball is projected towards him. His face was swollen badly and was rushed off from the ground. Good news is that the ball hit his face and not the eyes, which would have resulted in dreadful damage.