Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan both hit half-centuries before Sri Lanka applied the brakes to restrict Pakistan to 277-7 in their key World Cup Group A match at R. Premadasa stadium on Saturday.
Misbah hit an unbeaten 83, and added an invaluable 108 for the fourth wicket with Younis (72), after Pakistan, who elected to bat on a flat pitch, failed to up the run-rate in the final overs against some disciplined Sri Lankan bowling.
With Pakistan looking set for a 300-plus total, Sri Lanka’s bowlers, especially Muttiah Muralitharan, kept a tight line and length, only allowing Pakistan 36 runs in the five-over batting power-play.
The wily off-spinner, who finished with 1-35 off his 10 overs, conceded just five runs in his two overs with only three fielders outside the circle.
Pakistan’s push was also restricted when Misbah suffered cramps, forcing him to use a runner, and he managed just six boundaries during his 91-ball knock.
With Pakistan selecting eight batsmen, all-rounder Abdul Razzaq (three) and Shahid Afridi (16) came in too late to spark a faster scoring rate.
Mohammad Hafeez (32) and Kamran Akmal (39) added 48 for the second wicket after opener Ahmed Shahzad fell in the sixth over for 13.