Sri Lanka’s crazy 2019 got even weirder on Wednesday, when they made five changes to the team that had won the first two T20Is against Pakistan, but still managed to pull off a whitewash – debutant Oshada Fernando producing the defining innings, before legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga took three wickets in his second successive match.
Oshada hit 78 not out off 48 balls, overseeing Sri Lanka’s recovery from 30 for 3 after five overs, then 58 for 4 after eight. Very much the talisman in the innings – no other batsman made even 15 – he guided Sri Lanka to 147 for 7 on a slow Lahore surface.
That total would prove 13 too many for Pakistan, who had a 76-run second-wicket partnership, and yet could never get ahead of the asking rate. Haris Sohail struck 52 off 50 balls for them, but there was the sense that the top order could have been more ambitious in the first two-thirds of the innings. After 12 overs the required rate had crept up to nine. Iftikhar Ahmed and Wahab Riaz both struck desperate boundaries in the final overs, but they had been left with too much to do. Hasaranga’s two wickets in the 18th over effectively sealed the whitewash for the visitors.
Sri Lanka, who lead the three-match series 2-0, made five changes to their team. Wicketkeeper-batsman Sadeera Samarawickrama, batsmen Oshada Fernando and Angelo Perera, allrounder Lahiru Madushanka, and fast bowler Lahiru Kumara have all been brought into the XI, as Nuwan Pradeep, Isuru Udana, Shehan Jayasuriya, Avishka Fernando and Minod Bhanuka make way.
Pakistan, meanwhile, dropped both Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad, with both batsmen having failed in the first two matches. They have been replaced by Haris Sohail and Iftkhar Ahmed. Young fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain has also been left out in favour of Usman Shinwari, who was menacing in the ODI series. Dew may form later in the evening, but it has not had a major effect on the game so far this series. There is no rain forecast.
On Monday, Sri Lanka’s second-string side humbled Pakistan by 35 runs in the second T20I to seal the series and leave the hosts scrambling to avoid a whitewash at home.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt, wk), Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari
Sri Lanka: Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama (wk), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Angelo Perera, Oshada Fernando, Dasun Shanaka (capt), Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Madushanka, Lakshan Sandakan, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara