x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Rejig does the trick for Sri Lanka

Thisara Perera bagged a career-best six for 44 and Tillakaratne Dilshan returned as an opener with a century knock as hosts draw level in the second ODI.

Sri Lankan bowler Thisara Perera contributed with the bat and ball.
Sri Lankan bowler Thisara Perera contributed with the bat and ball.

Pakistan revealed yesterday they have hired a psychologist to help the rehabilitation of the banned bowler Mohammad Amir.

The national team might also need to engage in some positive mental coaching to ensure they bounce back from yesterday's comprehensive defeat in Pallekele in time for in the third one-day international, in Colombo on Wednesday.

Thisara Perera bagged a career-best six for 44 and Tillakaratne Dilshan hit a century as Sri Lanka posted an easy win over the visitors in the second ODI.

Four of Pakistan's bowlers went for more than five an over as the hosts scored a challenging 280 for four.

Pakistan were in a good position at 165 for five but lost their last five wickets for 39 runs to lose by 76, despite an impressive 96 by opener Azhar Ali. The result levelled the five-match series.

"We were not far away from putting everything together, so credit to the guys for doing so," Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, said. Sri Lanka rejigged their batting order after losing the opening one-dayer by six wickets on Thursday, with Upul Tharanga returning as an opener and Jayawardene coming in at No 5.

"We swapped the batting order in Australia, so we can be flexible. It's good that we can keep changing. It was important that one of us stays till the end so it was good Dilshan did so.

"Perera was brilliant. It's great to have such allrounders, Angelo [Mathews] and him. Hopefully we keep them both healthy for a long period of time."

Earlier Dilshan carried his bat through for his second century against Pakistan. His unbeaten 119, his third century in ODIs this year, came off 138 deliveries with 11 fours and a six.

Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, acknowledged the better side won. "They played really well," Misbah said. "Their opening partnership was very good. Dilshan, Mahela, then the finish. The wicket was very good. The way we started, it was gettable.

"We have to work really hard in all three departments. They were better than us in all three departments."

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman Nadeem Sarwar told AFP they had sought professional help for Amir who was convicted and banned in a spot-fixing scandal.

Amir, 20, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were sent to prison for their parts in a spot-fixing scandal and banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for a minimum of five years.

"We have hired Maqsood Babri to counsel Amir as part of his rehabilitation," Sarwar said. "The sessions of counselling will start soon and in this regard we are in touch with the ICC also."

While banning the trio, the ICC anti-corruption tribunal led by Michael Beloff had advised the ICC and PCB to rehabilitate the three players.

Amir recently appeared in an ICC anti-corruption educational video warning future players of the pitfalls of spot-fixing. He was also debriefed twice by the PCB last month. Babri said he will do his best to help Amir.

"It's a challenge for me but I will do my best to counsel Amir so that he can find his way back to international cricket," he said.

"Amir is an exceptional talent and we must help him regain his place."

Amir rose to fame in 2009 and was regarded as a promising talent at the international level before he was embroiled in the scandal.

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