Hambantota, June 2
Seam bowler Nuwan Kulasekara picked up wickets with his first two balls to help Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 37 runs in a low-scoring opening Twenty20 match on Friday.
Batting first after winning the toss Sri Lanka made 132 runs. Thisara Perera made 32 in 16 balls in a late blow to give his team a decent total after Pakistan seamer Sohail Tanvir skittled the home side’s top order. In reply Kulasekara dismissed captain Mohammad Hafeez and Shakeel Ansar off successive balls in the first over of Pakistan’s innings to swing the momentum in favor of the hosts as the tourists were eventually dismissed for 95 runs in the 18th over.
Seamer Anjelo Mathews, Lasith Malinga and spinner Sachithra Senanayake also picked up two wickets each.
Kulasekara dismissed Hafeez and Ansar, who was making his international debut at 33, in identical fashion with both caught at point by Tillakaratne Dilshan. Mathews bowled economically, conceding just eight runs off his four overs and also taking the valuable wickets of Khalid Latif and Shoaib Malik.
Pakistan opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad was stranded as wickets fell quickly at the other end. He was eventually out for 36 including three boundaries and a six. Extras accounted for the next highest total with 19 including 17 wides.
The only other batsman to reach double figures was Umar Akmal (12).
Earlier Tanvir, the left-armer, dismissed captain Mahela Jayawardene (2), Tillakaratne Dilshan (5) and Kumar Sangakkara (19) to reduce Sri Lanka to 31-3.
Tanvir finished with 3-12 in his four overs while offspinner Saeed Ajmal returned 2-20.
Lahiru Thirimanne made 30 off 25 deliveries and Perera struck two sixes and two boundaries during a 16-ball 32 that eventually gave Sri Lanka a winning total.