Shehzad, bowlers help Pakistan clinch series
They first refused to let Sri Lanka get away despite a 100-run seemingly effortless second-wicket stand and dragged them down to 256, and then Ahmed Shehzad followed it with a ruthless chase of a target that could have been tricky on a dry turning surface. This was their first bilateral series win in Sri Lanka in nine years, and took them closer to Champions Trophy qualification.
In fact even in the fourth match - the one that they lost - Pakistan were predictable and excellent. They just came up against individual brilliance of the Pakistani kind, and even after that record fastest fifty by Kusal Perera Pakistan fought to make sure it was not a cakewalk for Sri Lanka. There was no such out-of-the-world brilliance from Sri Lanka this time, but Pakistan retained that tenacity even though Lahiru Thirimanne and Tillakaratne Dilshan seemed in control scoring half-centuries after Perera fell for a duck. The fielders cut out the singles, the spinners choked supply of easy runs, the quicks struck to cash in on the pressure, and Sri Lanka went from 170 for 3 to score only 86 in the last 14 overs.
As a comparison, in the next 14 overs there was enough evidence Pakistan were going to cruise through the chase. Sri Lanka finally went to using Lasith Malinga as an attacking option, but Azhar Ali and Shehzad took his first three overs for 20. When it seemed like pace on ball was flying, Sri Lanka went to spin only to see Shehzad jump out of the crease and belt Sachith Pathirana back over his head first ball for a six. Nuwan Pradeep injured himself, Suranga Lakmal looked ineffective, and already Malinga was back for a second spell.