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Pakistan and Sri Lanka came into game 3 of this 5-match ODI series in Colombo looking to gain a decisive 2-1 lead, but rain sadly decided to play spoilsport. The visitors chose to bat first and made a mess of the little play possible with the Lankan opening bowlers Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara putting in an impressive bowling performance by picking up a wicket each before intermittent rain made sure no further play was possible.
Misbah-ul-Haq called correctly at the toss for the first time in this ODI series and had no hesitation in deciding to bat first. He shared at the pre-match address that Pakistan were having a tough time batting and hence had brought in Asad Shafiq in place of Rahat Ali to boost their batting. The Pakistan skipper believed that 250 would be a good total considering their quality bowling lineup. Mahela Jayawardene shared that he would have preferred batting first as well. He felt restricting the opposition to a modest total would be crucial to their success. Left arm spinner Sajeeva Weerakoon was brought into the squad in place of Ranganna Herath, who was rested ahead of the Test series.
Just the one ball could be bowled by Lasith Malinga to Mohammad Hafeez before rain interrupted play. With the rain getting heavier, a lengthy delay looked on the cards.
Malinga struck as soon as play resumed (after about an hour) with a cracker of an outswinger which Mohammad Hafeez could only manage to nick into the safe hands of the wicketkeeper. He was out for a duck and in came Shafiq ahead of Younis Khan. The outfield was heavy and a couple of cover drives stopped before reaching the fence. A Nuwan Kulasekara inswinger hit Azhar Ali (7) just outside his off-stump but such was the appeal that the umpire couldnâ€™t stop himself from raising the finger. There was no sign of Younis Khan yet as skipper Misbah-ul-Haq came in to bat. Meanwhile dark clouds covered the ground and the umpires decided to bring on the covers and rightly so as it started to rain soon after with the score reading 12-2 in 6.2 overs.
After a little more than four hours of seeing the rain play hide and seek, the officials decided to abandon the match to leave the series wide open at 1-1. The two teams will hope for better weather the next time they lock horns at the same venue on Saturday, 16th June. The next game will be crucial in the context of the series as at the end of it, the victors will enjoy an unassailable 2-1 lead.
Sri Lanka: M Jayawardene(c), T Dilshan, K Sangakkara (wk), D Chandimal, L Thirimanne, U Tharanga, A Mathews, T Perera, N Kulasekara, L Malinga, S Weerakoon
Pakistan: M Hafeez, A Ali, Y Khan, A Shafiq, Misbah-ul-Haq(c), U Akmal, S Afridi, S Ahmed (wk), U Gul, S Ajmal, S Tanvir
Pakistan 12-2 (6.2 overs, 1.89 rpo)
A Ali 7(14) N Kulasekara 1-3
A Shafiq 5*(20) L Malinga 1-9
Match abandoned due to rain.
File Photograph Copyright: ICC World T20
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