(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) When captain Sarfraz Ahmed made a statement a few days ago that Pakistan have the best attack in the world, he wasn't sounding boorish, nor was he trying to act too big for his boots, nor undermine his opponents Sri Lanka. In fact, it was more like throwing down the gauntlet to the rest of the ODI teams in the world that his bowlers are a bunch of hungry cricketers and they are raring to go.
They proved it in the Champions Trophy in England. And that streak continued into the ODI series against Sri Lanka in the UAE. Once again it was their bowlers that did the damage in the fifth ODI match of the Q Mobile series.
At the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, which was hosting its 228th ODI, Sarfraz's young brigade rode roughshod over the island nation by handing them a nine-wicket mauling.
With another series whitewash Sri Lankan cricket will have some soul-searching to do. They have been made to look like spectators throughout the series. They have the upcoming three T20 matches to redeem themselves.
Coming back to the match, skipper Upul Tharanga won his fourth toss -- the only thing that kept going his way - and made three changes in the bowling department. Vishwa Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera and Jeffrey Vandersay replaced Akila Dananjaya, Lahiru Gamage and Suranga Lakmal.
But more than the bowling, he should have strengthened the batting lineup as they collapsed like a pack of cards for 103 in just 26.2 overs.
Pakistan got those runs in 20.2 overs with Fakhar Zaman striking eight fours in his 48 and Imam
Haq continuing with his good form to remain unbeaten on 45.
At the start of the match it wasn't Hasan Ali who wreaked havoc. Instead it was the promising left arm pacer Usman Khan Shinwari who struck twice in his first over. He cleaned up Sadeera Samarawickrama with his fifth ball and foxed Dinesh Chandimal into edging one to wicketkeeper Sarfraz with his next delivery.
When he returned for his second over, the few spectators who showed up, cheered him on for his hat trick ball but Upul Tharanga dispatched him to the ropes. However, the 23-year-old got his revenge when in the same over he disturbed the timber with one that pitched outside off-stump and skidded between Tharanga's bat and pads to hit middle stump. When he returned for his third over he removed Niroshan Dickwella by trapping him in front of the wicket and after enticing Milinda Siriwardana in his fourth over to give Fakhar Zaman a dolly of a catch, Usman fell to the ground on his knees and kissed the turf as it had taken him only 21 balls to bag five wickets, making him the third quickest in ODIs since 2001.
It was only nine overs into the Sri Lankan innings and Pakistan had done enough damage. Mind you, their star bowler Hasan Ali was still to come on and when he did he didn't take long to make his presence felt. Bowling from around the wicket he found the outside edge of Lahiru Thirimanna's bat for Sarfraz to take his second catch. Sarfraz switched to spin and Shadab Khan after being hit for a six and a four by Thisara Perera got the better of him as he skied one to Faheem Ashraf, who came in for Junaid Khan, at mid off.
Shadab then trapped Jeffery Vandersey and Hasan returned to remove Dushmantha Chameera and end the Lankan innings.
| Sri Lanka |
U. Tharanga b Shinwari 8 S. Samarawickrama b Shinwari 0
D. Chandimal c Ahmed b Shinwari 0 L. Thirimanne c Ahmed b Hasan 19
N. Dickwella lbw b Shinwari 0 M. Siriwardana c Zaman b Shinwai 6
S. Prasanna run out 16 T. Perera c Ashraf b Shadab 25
J. Vandersay lbw b Shadab 2 D. Chameera b Hasan 11
V. Fernando not out 7 Extras: (lb 1, w 8) 9
Total: (all out, 26.2 overs) 103 Fall: 1-1, 2-1, 3-8, 4-8, 5-20, 6-49, 7-63, 8-85, 9-85
Bowling: Shinwari 7-0-34-5 (5w), Ashraf 4-0-12-0 (1w), Wasim 4-1-12-0 (2w), Hasan 5.2-0-19-2, Shadab 5-1-24-2, Hafeez 1-0-1-0
Haq not out 45
F. Zaman c Dickwella b Vandersay 48 Faheem Ashraf not out 5
Extras: (lb2, w5) 7 Total: (for 1 wkt; 20.2 overs) 105
Fall: 1-84 Bowling: Chameera 4-1-13-0, Fernando 4-1-21-0, Vandersay 6.2-0-30-1 (5w), Perera 2-0-18-0, Prasanna 4-0-21-0
Result: Pakistan won by 9 wkts, take series 5-0