Sri Lanka prove too good for Pak in 1st one-dayer
DAMBULLA: Seamers Thilan Thushara and Nuwan Kulasekera ripped through Pakistan's top order as Sri Lanka won the first one-day international by 36 runs here on Thursday.
Left-armer Thushara finished with 3-29 and Kulasekera took 2-30 as Pakistan struggled against Sri Lanka's 232-9 and were bowled out for 196 in 44.4 overs at the Rangiri International Stadium.
The tourists, beaten 2-0 in the preceding Test series, slipped to 134-8 before tailenders Umar Gul and Mohammad Aamer boosted the total with a rollicking ninth-wicket stand of 62 runs.
Gul top-scored for Pakistan with 33 off 21 balls, including four boundaries in one over off fast bowler Lasith Malinga. Teenager Aamer made 23.
The pair had taken the total to 196-8 when both batsmen fell in the space of two deliveries to hand Sri Lanka the lead in the five-match series.
Aamer was run out by a direct throw from Mahela Jayawardene, before Gul was bowled by Malinga next ball.
Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara praised the depth in his team, but conceded they had almost given it away during the stand between Gul and Aamer.
"We let it get away a bit at the end, perhaps we got a bit complacent," said Sangakkara.
"But it was a team effort all the way. I am proud to have such depth of talent and ability in the dressing room."
Pakistan captain Younus Khan rued the batting failure, saying the top order needed to stay at the wicket and forge partnerships.
"I thought we bowled very well and 232 should not have been a difficult total to chase, but the batting let is down," said Younus.
"I hope we learn from our mistakes and must bat better in the remaining matches. If Gul and Aamer can do it, there is no reason why the specialists can't."
Earlier, Sri Lanka recovered from their own top order failure to post a competitive 232-9.
The hosts, who were sent in to bat in overcast conditions, had collapsed to 131-6 by the 34th over before all-rounder Angelo Mathews (43) led a late revival.
The last four Sri Lankan wickets added 101 valuable runs before the 50 overs ran out.
Star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who missed the preceding Test series with a knee injury, marked his return with an aggressive 32 off 15 balls that included four boundaries and a six.
The off-spinner, who later took 2-46, was named man of the match.
Pakistan surprisingly left out 19-year-old batsman Umar Akmal despite his unbeaten century in a practice match on Monday.
The second match will be played at the same venue on Saturday.