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Sri Lanka unearth new stars to seal series win


Batsman Bhanuka Rajapaksa and leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga star for Sri Lanka as the sealed a series win in Lahore with victory in second T20

Newcomer Bhanuka Rajapaksa hit a whirlwind half-century while Nuwan Pradeep and Wanindu Hasaranga recorded career-best bowling figures as the Australia-bound Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 35 runs in the second Twenty20 international in Lahore on Monday.

Rajapaksa’s 77 off 48 balls lifted Sri Lanka to a challenging total of 6-182 – the left-hander blasting six sixes and four fours in a maiden fifty that came in only his second T20 international.

Pradeep finished with 4-25 while leg-spinner Hasaranga (pictured above) took 3-38 – collecting his wickets in the space of just four balls – as Pakistan were bowled out for 147 in 19 overs.

“We played quality cricket and that’s why we won,” said Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka, standing in for regular captain Lasith Malinga who was one of 10 players missing the tour over security fears.

“Rajapaksa played a masterclass innings. These youngsters should get a good chance after the series and I am sure (the) selectors will look at it.”

Victory gave Sri Lanka their first T20 series win over Pakistan in seven attempts as they clinched an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Sri Lanka won the first match by 67 runs, also in Lahore. The last match will be at the same venue on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan will then head to Australia where they will each play a three-game Gillette T20 International series against Australia, starting on October 27.

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“We didn’t play good cricket. Congrats to Sri Lanka, who batted, bowled and fielded better than us and I think they deserved to win,” said Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed.

Pakistan were again jolted by the pace duo of Kasun Rajitha, who dismissed Fakhar Zaman for six, while Pradeep removed top-ranked T20 batsman Babar Azam for three.

But it was Hasaranga who dismantled Pakistan’s middle order as he dismissed Ahmed Shehzad for 13, Umar Akmal for a golden duck, and Sarfaraz (26) in the eighth over.

Umar, also out first ball on Saturday, equalled the unwanted record for most T20 ducks (10) in a career shared by Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Earlier, Rajapaksa set the tone for Sri Lanka after the visitors won the toss and opted to bat.

Rajapaksa, who modelled his batting on Australian great Adam Gilchrist, led Sri Lanka’s fightback after they lost first-match hero Danushka Gunathilaka for 15 and Avishka Fernando for eight by the fifth over.

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