Hambantota, Sri Lanka: At a time when curators around the world believe that a good pitch is one on which the ball barely deviates off the straight and comes through at a good hittable pace, low-scoring limited-overs matches can be refreshing. But, when the lack of runs is a result of diffident batting rather than good bowling, as was the case at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota, viewers can be forgiven for feeling shortchanged. Pakistan and Sri Lanka tried hard to out-do each other in the silliness stakes, and in the end Shahid Afridi proved the difference as Sri Lanka went down by 23 runs in pursuit of an eminently gettable 123.
Having taken a 1-0 lead in the two-match series on Friday, Sri Lanka rested Mahela Jayawardena and Lasith Malinga in a bid to see just how some of their fringe players would perform in these conditions. Angelo Mathews, the stand-in captain, suggested that Sri Lanka were yet to nail down the exact composition of their team for the T20 World Cup, to be played at these very venues later in the year, and this prompted their decision.