Things seem to have returned to square one for Sri Lanka after their historic whitewash over Pakistan in the Test series.
Having been drubbed by India 0-5 at home recently, Sri Lanka’s woes in ODI’s continued, as the side got crushed in the opening game of the series in Dubai. Chasing a challenging 293 to win the game, Sri Lanka gave up once their top order was sent back and apart from Niroshan Dickwella and Lahiru Thirimanne, none of the batsmen seemed to be up for the task. For skipper Upul Tharanga, it was a matter of grave concern, as he didn’t just fail to motivate his side, but personally too endured another disastrous outing.
Sri Lanka began the game quite well, however, as Lahiru Gamage sent back Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad for a duck to have the hosts in a spot of bother.
However, once the dynamic Fakhar Zaman got in, it was difficult to see his back, but that too happened soon. As Zaman got dismissed for 43, Sri Lanka should have capitalised on that, but it turned out to be another opportunity gone begging. Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam got together, and later it was the destruction of Shoaib Malik which decimated Sri Lanka.
For the visitors, Niroshan Dickwella began positively, hitting three boundaries before being dismissed for 19. The famed likes of Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Mendis went early, and the middle-order failure pretty much ended all hopes for the chase. Southpaw Lahiru Thirimanne though resisted for a major portion with a fighting half-century.
However, against a superb bowling lineup like Pakistan, the target was far from an easy one, as Rumman Raees and Hasan Ali, sharing six wickets between them, derailed the chase. Post the loss, Sri Lankan skipper Upul Tharanga admitted his team should have performed far better, and the batsmen should have converted their starts.
“I think we lost wickets cheaply, Pakistan batted really well. We tried to restrict them under 240, but we gave away too many in the last few overs. In the last few series, we haven’t batted to our potential. We need to convert our starts,” said Tharanga.