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Sri Lanka defeat Pakistan to levels series

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) - Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan by 129 runs in the second limited-overs international Wednesday and leveled the three-match series 1-1.

Sri Lanka’s strong total of 290-8 off 50 overs revolved around Tillakaratne Dilshan (76) and Thilina Kandamby (59) after being sent in to bat first.

Pakistan, which won the first match by eight wickets, recovered briefly from 17-3 through half centuries from Salman Butt (62) and captain Shoaib Malik (54) before it was dismissed for 161 with 15.1 overs to spare.

Experienced off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan (3-19) broke the threatening fourth-wicket partnership of 108 runs from 121 balls between Butt and Malik when the Pakistan captain got a thick edge and was caught behind.

"It’s difficult to chase 290 when the opposition have two strong spinners," Malik said. "Our bowlers didn’t hit the right areas and it was always difficult to chase a big total."

Muralitharan combined with Ajantha Mendis (3-29) to hurry Pakistan’s lower-order collapse and finish with three wickets apiece.

Paceman Nuwan Kulasekera’s double strike in his opening two overs put Pakistan in early trouble before Butt, who scored a century in the first match, revived Pakistan hopes with a 108-run fourth-wicket stand off 121 balls.

However, once Muralitharan broke the stand in the 24th over, the Pakistan innings crumbled against Sri Lanka’s strong spinners.

"We created opportunities up front and today we showed a lot of character in our batting," said Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene, who scored 24. "Our bowling has been consistent over the last one year and we didn’t give them (Pakistan) room today."

Earlier, Dilshan hit 11 boundaries in his 76-run knock while Kandamby - replacing Jehan Mubarak in the starting eleven - scored 59 off 79 balls in Sri Lanka’s highest total since it retained the Asia Cup in July last year.

Chamara Kapugedera (44) led the charge in the end and struck two sixes and two fours as Sri Lanka scored 79 runs off the last 10 overs.

Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya (19) provided a competitive start of 43 runs off 38 balls after Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik won the toss and put Sri Lanka into bat.

Both batsmen twice drove struggling paceman Shoaib Akhtar for fours in one over, forcing the veteran paceman out of the attack.

Jayasuriya was unlucky to lose his wicket, as his back foot clipped the stumps when he attempted to set off for a quick single.

Kumar Sangakkara, who hit 49 in Sri Lanka’s eight-wicket defeat in Tuesday’s series opener, was run out as bowler Umar Gul brilliantly picked up the ball in his follow-through, and directly hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end with the batsman well short of his crease.

Kandamby should have been dismissed on 16 but wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal dropped a sharp chance off leg-spinner Shahid Afridi.

Left-handed Kandamby, playing in only his sixth one-day international, made full use of the opportunity and shared 99 runs off 109 balls for the third wicket stand with Dilshan.

Akhtar - making a comeback to international cricket after 14 months layoff due to injuries and disciplinary charges - struggled to find his rhythm in the return spell with Kandamby pulling him twice for boundaries in one over.

Akhtar, who went wicketless in Pakistan’s convinving win Tuesday, finally broke through when Dilshan holed out in the deep in the 36th over. He finished with 45-1 from six overs.

Left-arm paceman Sohail Tanvir was also unimpressive and returned wicketless (0-50) in his seven overs.

Gul (4-58) was the pick of Pakistan bowlers while Iftikhar (1-43) and Afridi (1-42) also bowled economical 10-over spells.

The final match of the series will be played at Lahore on Saturday.

Scoreboard

Sri Lanka Innings

T. Dilshan c Misbah b Akhtar 76

S. Jayasuriya hit wicket b Gul 19

K. Sangakkara run out 16

T. Kandamby c Malik b Iftikhar 59

M. Jayawardene c Akmal b Gul 24

C. Kapugedera c Younis b Gul 44

F. Maharoof b Tanvir 17

T. Thushara c Akmal b Gul 8

M. Muralitharan not out 11

N. Kulasekera not out 0

Extras: (1lb, 9w, 6nb) 16

TOTAL: (for 8 wickets) 290

Fall of wickets: 1-43, 2-66, 3-165, 4-190, 5-231, 6-253, 7-269,8-289.

Did not bat: Ajantha Mendis

Bowling: Akhtar 6-0-45-1 (1nb 3w), Tanvir 7-0-50-1 (3nb 1w),Iftikhar 10-1-43-1 (2w), Gul 9-0-58-4 (1nb 1w), Afridi 10-0-42-0 (1nb 1w), Malik 8-0-51-0 (1w).

Pakistan

K. Manzoor lbw b Kulasekara 1

S. Butt c Jayawardene b Jayasuriya 62

Y. Khan b Kulasekara 4

Misbah-ul-Haq c Sangakkara b Thushara 1

S. Malik c Sangakkara b Muralitharan 54

K. Akmal c Sangakkara b Mendis 6

S. Afridi c Kulasekara b Muralitharan 14

S. Tanvir c Dilshan b Muralitharan 1

U. Gul lbw b Mendis 0

I. Anjum lbw b Mendis 5

S. Akhtar not out 1

Extras: (b 1, lb 3, w 8) 12

Total: (all out) 161

Overs: 34.5

Fall of wickets1-6, 2-14, 3-17, 4-125, 5-125, 6-145, 7-150, 8-151, 9-153, 10-161

Bowling: Kulasekara 7-0-31-2, (1w), Thushara 5-0-24-1, Maharoof 5-0-31-0 (1w), Mendis 6.5-1-29-3, Jayasuriya 4-1-23-1 (1w), Muralitharan 7-1-19-3 (1w)

Toss: Pakistan, who chose to field first

Series: level 1-1 (3)

Man of the match TM Dilshan (SL)

Umpires: A. Rauf (Pak), N. Llong (Eng)

Match referee: B. Broad (Eng)

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