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Perera grabs three wickets as Lanka beat Pakistan by 77 runs 3-match series level at 1-1

HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka, Aug 26, (AFP): Thisara Perera smashed 65 off 36 balls and then grabbed three wickets as Sri Lanka thumped Pakistan by 77 runs in the second one-dayer on Tuesday to level the three-match series 1-1. Sri Lanka recovered from 194-6 to post a commanding 310-9 in their 50 overs after electing to bat, before dismissing Pakistan for 233 in 43.5 overs in the day-night match in Hambantota. Pakistan had won the first match at the same venue by four wickets last week. The decider will be played in Dambulla on Saturday. A second-wicket stand of 96 between Ahmed Shehzad (56) and Mohammad Hafeez (62) lifted Pakistan to 114-1 by the 18th over before nine wickets fell for the addition of 119 runs. Hafeez, who had taken three wickets in Sri Lanka’s innings, appeared in good batting form with 11 boundaries when he was leg-before to spinner Seekkuge Prasanna.

Umar Akmal was caught behind off Tillakaratne Dilshan for one and Shehzad became leg-spinner Prasanna’s second victim through a smart catch by veteran wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath removed skipper Misbah-ul Haq (36) and Sohaib Maqsood (nine), before Perera ensured a quick finish to the innings by taking the next three wickets. Earlier, Sri Lanka were reduced to 62-3 when skipper Angelo Mathews (93) and Mahela Jayawardene (67) retrieved the situation by adding 122 for the fourth wicket. The dismissal of Jayawardene in the 34th over — the first of three wickets in as many overs by Hafeez — saw Sri Lanka collapse from 184-3 to 194-6.

Perera helped Mathews add 87 off 57 balls for the seventh wicket before the captain holed out to mid-wicket against Wahab Riaz seven runs short of a century. Perera smashed five boundaries and four sixes in his whirlwind innings as the hosts plundered 101 runs in the last 10 overs. Hafeez finished with three for 39 from 10 economical overs, while Riaz took four for 65. Hafeez stepped in for the prolific Saeed Ajmal, who was yet to return from Australia, where he underwent tests on his bowling action after being reported by the umpires during the preceding Test series. Pakistan, hoping to win the one-day leg after they lost the Tests 2-0, were also without frontline batsman Younis Khan, who returned home following a death in the family. Sharjeel Khan replaced Younis, while Sri Lanka dropped batsman Dinesh Chandimal to play Prasanna. The match was originally slated to be played in Colombo on Wednesday, but heavy rains in the Sri Lankan capital forced officials to change the venue and advance the game by a day.
 
Pakistan cricket authorities were Tuesday forced to cancel their ambitious Twenty20 league project due a lack of time to schedule the tournament ahead of the World Cup, leaving question marks over its future. Pakistan Cricket Board had planned to hold the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in the United Arab Emirates in January next year based on the lines of the lucrative Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash in an attempt to recoup huge financial losses. The losses were incurred after Pakistan failed to stage any international cricket following a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009. The PSL was also cancelled last year due to logistical problems. The PCB said time constraints ahead of next year’s World Cup — in Australia and New Zealand in February-March — forced the decision.
 
Pakistan Tuesday formed a committee to identify and help bowlers with suspect actions at an early stage after their ace spinner Saeed Ajmal was reported over his deliveries. The 36-year-old underwent tests at a Brisbane lab on Monday and faces a possible ban from the International Cricket Council (ICC) if they reveal his action is illegal. The report on the tests is due in two weeks. Ajmal missed the first two matches in the ongoing one-day series against Sri Lanka but can play the final match in Dambulla on Saturday. If banned Ajmal would then have to undergo remedial work on his action, leaving Pakistan without their key bowler in the forthcoming series against Australia and New Zealand — both in United Arab Emirates — from October to December.
 
Since Ajmal’s suspect action was reported in the Galle Test against Sri Lanka earlier this month, Zimbabwe’s Prosper Utseya and Bangladesh’s Sohag Gazi have also been reported, highlighting the ICC’s strict stance on suspect bowling. The Pakistan Cricket Board said it wants to help bowlers with suspect actions in the early stages of their careers. “A committee under former spinner Iqbal Qasim has been formed to help bowlers with suspect action,” the board said in a statement. Former paceman Mohammad Akram, spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed and umpire Aleem Dar will also be on the committee. Besides Ajmal, Pakistan’s Shoaib Akhtar, Shoaib Malik, Shabbir Ahmed, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez and Riaz Afridi have been reported for suspect actions at international level in the past. 
 
In 2005 Ahmed became the first bowler ever to be banned for a 12-month period by the ICC after his action was reported twice in 12 months. “This is a major problem for Pakistan,” Qasim told AFP. “We need to spot young bowlers with suspect actions and improve their actions in the academy. “It is important to help the bowlers at an early age of 16 or 19 because once they get mature it’s tough to alter their actions,” said Qasim, who took 171 wickets in 50 Tests. Ajmal’s two possible replacements in Atif Maqbool and Adnan Rasool — both good performers in Pakistan’s domestic season — have suspect actions.

 

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