Colombo - Sarfraz Ahmed scored 77 and Yasir Shah grabbed
four wickets as Pakistan thrashed Sri Lanka by 135 runs in the violence-hit
third one-day international in Colombo on Sunday.
All-rounder Mohammad Hafeez made up for a year-long ban on
bowling due to a suspect action with a polished 54 as Pakistan piled up 316-4
after electing to bat in the day-night match.
Leg-spinner Yasir then shone with the ball as Sri Lanka were
bundled out for 181 in 41.1 overs on a slow pitch at the Premadasa stadium.
The match was interrupted for 30 minutes in the second
session with Sri Lanka on 158-7 when stones thrown apparently from outside the
stadium landed on the field near a Pakistani fielder.
Match referee Javagal Srinath of India immediately ordered
the players off the field as anti-riot police squads evacuated spectators from
two blocks of stands near the giant scoreboard.
The match, which was witnessed by Pakistan batting great
Zaheer Abbas - the current president of the International Cricket Council (ICC)
-- resumed after the short break and Pakistan completed a facile win to take a
2-1 lead in the five-match series.
Lahiru Thirimanne, who top-scored with 56, was the only Sri
Lankan batsman to offer resistance as the rest of the batting collapsed. Opener
Kusal Perera was the next highest contributor with 20.
Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews admitted his team was
outplayed by Pakistan.
"I am pretty disappointed," he said. "But it
must be said that Pakistan outplayed us in all three departments."
"The pitch helped the spinners in the second innings,
but we need to improve in batting, bowling and fielding. We can't afford to
panic. Just need to have faith in the boys."
Hafeez's fourth score of 50-plus in the last six one-day
innings built on a 93-run opening stand between Ahmed Shehzad (44) and skipper
Azhar Ali (49).
Hafeez, 34, had on Friday been banned from bowling for a
year by the ICC after his action was ruled to be illegal - for the second time
in the last eight months.
But the former captain ensured he contributed with the bat
with a stroke-filled half-century to follow his 103 in the opening match of the
Sarfraz, promoted to number four from lower down the order,
justified the captain's faith with seven boundaries in his 74-ball knock.
The gutsy wicket-keeper put on 72 for the third wicket with
Hafeez and 61 for the fourth with Shoaib Malik to boost the total, before he
was run out in the 45th over.
Malik, watched from the stands by his tennis-playing Indian
wife Sania Mirza, struck an unbeaten 42 from 29 balls and shared an unbroken
fifth-wicket stand of 59 with Mohammad Rizwan (35 not out).
The pair smashed 21 runs in the last over, bowled by Lasith
Malinga, to leave Sri Lanka chasing the highest total in the series so far.
Sarfraz, who was named man-of-the-match, said he was
delighted to contribute to the big win.
"It was a great team effort," he said. "I am
really very happy with my batting and 'keeping. Yesterday Azhar came and told
me he wanted me to bat higher in the order. I said okay."
"I am just happy everything clicked for me and the
Pakistan had won the opening match in Dambulla and Sri Lanka
took the second in Pallekele.
Ninth-ranked Pakistan need a series win to remain in
contention for a place in the eight-nation Champions Trophy in England in 2017.
Sri Lanka, currently ranked fifth, are assured of taking
part in the tournament.
The fourth match will be played at the same venue on