Aided by some rank poor fielding, Sri Lanka helped itself to a series win over Pakistan in the five match one-day international series at the R.Premadasa stadium here. Sri Lanka had earlier taken an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the series, with one game being washed out. Pakistan had to win this to level the series.

Set to get 248 by Pakistan, Sri Lanka got there with two balls to spare, in a final match with quite some drama. The result was never in doubt because Pakistan was lavish in granting any wish of the opposition – extras, dropped catches, undeserved runs were all gifted away.

If any other team in World Cricket allowed the opposition to convert so many 2s into 4s, and nones into 1s, it would have been under scrutiny for attempting to throw the match away. Not Pakistan.

The one day international at the R.Premadasa stadium here saw some acrobatic fielding from Sri Lanka, and some unbelievably shoddy fielding on the part of Pakistan.

It is unlikely that Sohail Tanvir, despite his wickets haul, will be part of any other national team. Out on the boundary, he fielded like most of us amateurs do – trying to stop it with the feet, and, in the process, kicking it over the fence. Twice, he converted 2s into 4s. There was much sloppiness in bowling too: bowlers on both sides, put together, minus Sohail, gave away 7 wides. Sohail Tanvir gave away seven all by himself.

Sri Lanka began badly in reply. Both openers, T.M.Dilshan (10) and Upul Tharanga (2) went with the score reading 19. Kumar Sangakkara (40) and Dinesh Chandimal (54) began the process of re-building the innings. But with the score on 97, tried to block the ball and steal a single. Unfortunately for him, the wicket keeper Sarfraz Ahamed was too quick, and Sangakkara was stumped. Anjelo Mathews (80 not out), paired with the later order batsmen, to take Sri Lanka home.

Earlier, riding on half-centuries from opener Imran Farhat (56) and Umar Akmal (55 not out), Pakistan reached 247 for the loss of seven wickets

All the frontline batsmen barring Mohammad Hafeez contributed – the top run getting this series, Azhar Ali chipped in with 30, while Asad Shafiq (38), Captain Misbah-ul-Haq (32) made sure that Pakistan kept up the momentum that was achieved in the first few overs.

Younis, Ajmal dropped

Pakistan dropped Younis Khan and Saeed Ajmal and elected to bat after winning the toss on Monday. Imran Farhat took Younis Khan’s place and Ajmal made way for Mohammad Sami, who has been declared fit.

For Sri Lanka, Jeevan Mendis gets a look in, ahead of Sanjeeva Weerakoon, who made his debut in the washed out third one-day international; and was not threatening in the fourth. Mendis acquitted his selection, picking up two wickets, and bowling a tight nine overs.

Scoreboard:

Pakistan: M.Hafeez b Kulasekara 6, I. Farhat c Chandimal b Perera 56, A.Ali c Thirimanne b Mendis 30, A.Shafiq (run out) 38, Misbah-ul-Haq c Perera b Mendis 32, U.Akmal (not out) 55, S.Afridi c Jayawardene b Kulasekara 9, S.Tanvir c Tharanga b Malinga 11, U.Gul (not out) 2. Extras (b 2, lb 3, w 3) 8; Total (for seven wickets in 50 overs): 247

Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-82, 3-113, 4-146, 5-207, 6- 229, 7-244.

Sri Lanka bowling: Malinga 10-1-52-1, Kulasekara 10-1-53-2, Mathews 10-0-41-0, Dilshan 3-0-12-0, Perera 8-0-54-1, Mendis 9-0-30-2.

Sri Lanka: U. Tharanga b Tanvir 2, T.M.Dilshan b Tanvir 10, K.Sangakkara st Ahmed b Afridi 40, D.Chandimal c Sami b Hafeez 54, M.Jayawardene c & b Afridi 0, A.Mathews (not out) 80, T.Perera (run out) 0, L.Thirimanne (run out) 11, J.Mendis c Shafiq b Tanvir 19, N.Kulasekara (not out) 10. Extras: (lb 10, w 12): 22; Total (for eight wickets in 49.3 overs): 248.

Fall of Wickets: 1-18, 2-19, 3-97, 4-97, 5-135, 6-138, 7-175, 8-212.

Pakistan Bowling: U.Gul 10-1-43-0, S.Tanvir 10-0-42-3, M.Hafeez 10-0-30-1, M.Sami 9.4-0-75-0, S.Afridi 10-0-48-2.

More In: Cricket | Sport