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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sri Lanka bulldoze Pakistan to win series 2-1, Murali takes 500th ODI wicket

Sri Lanka bulldoze Pakistan to win series 2-1, Murali takes 500th ODI wicket

Last updated on: January 24, 2009 19:33 IST

Tillakaratne Dilshan blasted a career-best unbeaten 137 while Muttiah Muralitharan grabbed his 500th ODI wicket as Sri Lanka bulldozed Pakistan by 235 runs to win the three-match series 2-1 in Lahore on Saturday.

Opting to bat first, Sri Lanka piled up 309 for five before unleashing their bowlers who skittled out Pakistan for a meagre 75 in just 22.5 overs to inflict on the hosts a humiliating defeat in the all-important series decider. 

Dilshan's 139-ball 137, studded with 10 fours, turned out to be the bedrock of the Lankan innings even though Sanath Jayasuriya (45), Kumar Sangakkara (50) and Thilina Kandamby (32) also came up with useful contributions. 

For Pakistan, only two batsmen -- Umar Gul (27) and captain Shoaib Malik (17) -- managed double digit scores while four had ducks against their names as the hosts folded for their lowest score at the venue. 

Lankan pacer Nuwan Kulasekara (3/17) and Thilan Tushara (3/33) mowed down the Pakistani top order before Muttiah Muralitharan (2/2) and Ajantha Mendis (1/12) completed the rout.

Muralitharan castled Sohail Khan (4) for his 500th ODI scalp which also dropped curtains on Pakistan's innings. 

Muralitharan, already highest wicket taker in Test cricket with 769 scalps against his name, needs three more wickets to overtake Wasim Akram (502) to top the ODI chart as well.

Pakistan needed an extra ordinary effort to chase down such a mammoth target but the first 22 runs cost them six frontline batsmen and the match was virtually over there. 

The rot started in the second over when Thushara trapped Younis Khan (4) and that triggered off a batting collapse.

In-form Salman Butt fell to Kulasekara for the a first ball duck, while Thushara went on to claim the wickets of Kamran Akmal (9) and Misbah-ul-Haq (0). 

At the other end, Kulasekara added Khurram Manzoor (3) and Shahid Afridi (0) to his scalps to compound Pakistan's misery.

Gul and Shoaib Malik tried to delay the inevitable with a 46-run partnership but Ajantha Mendis broke the stand by claiming Gul and Sri Lanka needed another four overs to complete a facile win. 

Earlier, Dilshan looked completely at ease in his makeshift opener's role and carried his bat through to guide Sri Lanka past the 300-mark. 

Despite having two hard-hitters in the middle, Sri Lanka initially found boundaries were not easy to come by but Jayasuriya finally broke free in the 15th over off Rao Iftikhar Anjum which yielded 25 runs. 

The first ball disappeared over long-on for a massive six, followed by back-to-back fours, five wide and another boundary as well. 

The fifty that seemed up for grab eventually eluded Jayasuriya who miscued Gul to perish after a 50-ball 45. 

But with Sangakkara and Dilshan on song, Pakistan struggled to stem the run flow. The duo added 104 runs for the second wicket at a run-a-ball rate and even when Sangakkara fell run out after a 58-ball 50, Sri Lanka were already eyeing a score in the vicinity of 300.

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