Abu Dhabi: It had been widely noted that Dinesh Chandimal hadn’t made an ODI fifty in nearly a year. He chose a thriller to end the drought, guiding Sri Lanka home in the last over in the company of Ajantha Mendis. Sri Lanka went into the Tests with a scoreline of 2-3, but it could easily have been 1-4. Pakistan made the target of 233 look like 333, despite Kusal Perera’s blitzing 47 at the start. They absorbed those early blows, and came back with venom, their spinners tying Sri Lanka down and their fast bowlers taking crucial wickets. Chandimal and Mendis battled through all that pressure to engineer a win from 195 for 8, their unbroken stand of 40 coming in only 4.1 overs.
It had looked all but over for Sri Lanka when Pakistan nipped out three wickets in three overs, and 38 were needed off 27. Saeed Ajmal, who taken two of those three wickets, then seemed to have effectively ended the game as Mendis was given out leg-before first ball in the 46th over. But even as Mendis started to walk away, Chandimal persuaded him to review. Over half of the ball was shown to have landed outside leg stump, and Mendis survived.
Chandimal then took nine off Junaid in the 47th over, continuing to hustle between the wickets and pulling a four. Next up was Ajmal’s last over. Sri Lanka could have opted to play safe and target the last 12 deliveries, but Mendis went after Ajmal. And then came the moment where Pakistan let it slip away. Mendis hit an airy drive to cover’s left, but Sohaib Maqsood could not hold on to the sharp chance. Not only did Mendis escape a second time, he ran two. He then opened up and cracked a reverse-sweep for four off the last ball of the over.
Sri Lanka still needed 18 off 12, but the issue was to be sealed in the penultimate over itself. Chandimal got underneath Umar Gul’s first delivery of the over and swung it for six over deep midwicket. Not to be outdone, Mendis stepped out and lofted Gul for six over extra cover three balls later. Game over. With two needed off the final three balls, Mendis hit the winning runs with a slap over extra cover and let out a scream.
Sri Lanka 235 for 8 (Chandimal 64*, Junaid 3-31) beat Pakistan 232 (Misbah 51, Malinga 4-57) by two wickets