The Pakistan Cricket Board on Saturday decided to rush pace bowler, Umar Gul to join the national side for the last three one-day matches against Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emirates. "Umar Gul is being flown to Sharjah tomorrow morning on the request of the team management," said a PCB official. Gul, 29, has not played for the national side since last February when he appeared in the one-day series in South Africa. A knee surgery in May has since kept him out of the side although he recently resumed playing domestic cricket and took 11 wickets in his only first class match last week since his injury. "The tour management has discussed the situation with the national selectors and they have decided that Gul should be available for the last three one-day matches against Sri Lanka," the official said. Gul is at present Pakistan's most experienced pace bowler with 163 test, 161 ODI and 74 T20 international wickets in a successful career which was suspended due to the knee injury this year. In 2004-2005 also, Gul suffered a back problem which kept him out of cricket for a while. "Gul has completed his rehabilitation process and has appeared in some One day and T20 games this domestic season and last week also played a first class match for Habib Bank," another official said. The decision to rush Gul came after Pakistan lost the second one-dayer after posting a total of 284 in Dubai on Friday. Sohail Tanvir went for lot of runs in the match. "I am delighted to be back in the national side and after last week's match I am feeling now match fit," Gul told reporters. OVERVIEW The ODI series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka is interestingly poised at 1-1 after the visitors won a tense second game by two wickets with just two balls remaining. Pakistan batted first and made 284-4 from their 50 overs, a not insurmountable target at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The hosts were indebted to 124 from Ahmed Shehzad, made from 140 balls. Shehzad batted until the 46th over to anchor the Pakistan innings, although he received very little support. Only captain Misbah-ul-Haq of the other batsmen passed 50, as he made 59 from 62 balls, while Mohammad Hafeez made 32 and Shahid Afridi scored 30. In response, the first two Sri Lankan wickets to fall were courtesy of run-outs, as Kusal Perera and Tillakaratne Dilshan were dismissed by Bilawal Bhatti and Hafeez, respectively. However, the tourists recovered thanks to 58 from Kumar Sangakkara, 44 from Dinesh Chandimal and 47 from captain Angelo Mathews. They were seen home with two balls to spare by tailenders Dimuth Karunaratne and Sachithra Senanayake to win by two wickets with two balls left amid high tension. Junaid Khan was the pick of Pakistan’s bowlers as he took 3-52 from his 10 overs, while Afridi took two and Saaed Ajmal took one. This result came after the first game in Sharjah, which was also a close one that was won by 11 runs by Pakistan. The hosts scored 322 from their 50 overs, an innings that included 122 from Mohammad Hafeez and an explosive 73 from 68 balls by Sohaib Maqsood. Debutant Sharjeel Khan also scored 61 from 61 balls opening the innings, while former captain Shahid Afridi finished with a flourish as he scored 34 from 12 balls. In reply, Sri Lanka managed to keep pace thanks to Kusal Perera’s 64 opening the innings, but no other batsman passed 50 as they were dismissed for 311. Now, the five-match series returns to Sharjah in what promises to be a crucial encounter. Team News Pakistan (probable): Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Sharjeel Khan, Ahmed Shehzad, Sohaib Maqsood, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Junaid Khan, Anwar Ali, Sohail Tanvir, Bilawal Bhatti Sri Lanka (probable): Angelo Mathews (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Ashan Priyanjan, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Sachithra Senanayake, Rangana Herath, Seekkuge Prasanna Key Players: Ahmed Shehzad In the second ODI, Ahmed Shehzad scored a well-paced 124 from 140 balls and he will be crucial again for Pakistan. He scored a great deal of maturity in what was a relatively cautious innings, and if he continues in this form he will set another superb platform for his team. Kumar Sangakkara Kumar Sangakkara sits atop Sri Lanka’s batting averages after two games and will be a wicket that Pakistan prize above all others. Still one of the world’s best batsmen, if Sangakkara manages to score heavily, the Sri Lankans will be in a superb position to win this game and take the series lead for the first time. Weather: According to Accuweather, Sharjah will be mostly sunny but with some clouds around and the potential for some rain showers during the day.
West Indies had lost 16 wickets on the third day in Wellington to lose by an innings. If one thought their standards couldn't plummet any further, one was to be proved wrong on the third day in Hamilton. In far friendlier conditions for batting than Basin Reserve, their entire second innings lasted less than a session. It began after tea, and ended so swiftly that New Zealand had time left to face a couple of overs in their second small chase of the series. It was supposed to be a test by spin for New Zealand, and Sunil Narine did as well he could, bowling 42.3 overs, 36 of them on the trot, to take 6 for 91. Ross Taylor batted through that examination to make his third hundred of the series and cut New Zealand's first-innings deficit to 18. Both feats, outstanding as they were, were consigned to the sidelines by the depressingly familiar drama that West Indies served up after tea. Granted New Zealand's four-man pace attack, three of them left-armers, were relentless with their tight lines and fuller lengths. Granted there was a bit of cloud cover that afforded some swing. Granted New Zealand came back from their sloppy catching in the first innings with some outstanding grabs. But the pitch was still the same slow one on which the sides had scored 367 and 349. After such scores, it was effectively a second-innings shootout. West Indies shot themselves in the foot instead. It was the same weakness again, an inability to tackle the inswing the left-armers were generating. Their left-handers kept poking at deliveries leaving them, even Shivnarine Chanderpaul falling prey to the malaise, and New Zealand kept snapping up sharp catches in the slip cordon, the highlight being Kane Williamson's one-handed blinder at gully to send back Chanderpaul for 20 off Neil Wagner. The right-handers drove loosely at inswingers, they prodded at ones going straight across them, they even managed to get strangled down the leg side. The longest anyone lasted was Marlon Samuels, who made 8 off 38 deliveries. The most runs anyone made was captain Darren Sammy, who struck six fours in a hopelessly frenetic 24 off 17 to nudge West Indies into three figures. Like in Wellington, Trent Boult did most of the damage, removing the top three within nine overs on his way to 4 for 23. Wagner and Corey Anderson, a terrific second pair of seamers, kept up the pressure to prise out three more, and Boult returned to trap first-innings centurion Denesh Ramdin in front. Having watched the left-armers take the first seven wickets, Tim Southee helped himself to the final three in one over with his outswingers, also reaching 100 Test victims in the process. West Indies had been blown away for 103 in 31.5 overs, 12 leg-byes helping them scrape past 100. Before tea, Taylor finished with 28 more than 11 West Indies batsmen and the leg-byes put together to pilot New Zealand past 300. Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson gave it away in the morning, aggression causing their downfall, while Taylor ticked along solidly and calmly, at his own pace, never in doubt. West Indies weren't able to exert pressure to the extent they had on the second evening, when their specialist spinners Narine and Veerasammy Permaul bowled in tandem. Instead, Darren Sammy gave himself a spell of nine overs at the start, bowling alongside Narine as West Indies worked with the old ball throughout the session. Whatever pressure Narine exerted wasn't maintained for long enough. Taylor carried on from the second evening, unruffled by the odd delivery misbehaving or by what was happening at the other end. Even as Narine jagged the odd straighter one past the bat, Taylor handled the offbreaks superbly, playing late and softly. West Indies took the second new ball in the 99th over, immediately after lunch, and the change earned them the wickets of BJ Watling and Taylor, who departed after taking 20 runs off Sammy in the 105th over. Wagner and Southee cut the deficit further but the tail could not survive too long against Narine, and he spun out the last three to go to 18 wickets from three Tests against New Zealand. The one over he bowled in the evening signalled that the target of 122 wouldn't be chased down easily. West Indies had stopped New Zealand short of chasing 112 in Dunedin, but that was on the final day with assistance from rain. Narine is now their only hope, however slender, with two days left. For if you can't bat, you can at least hope. WEST INDIES 1ST INNINGS 367 NEW ZEALAND 1ST INNINGS LRPL Taylor c Samuels b Best 131 BB McCullum c Sammy b Narine 12 Corey J Anderson c Deonarine b Permaul 39 BJ Watling c †Ramdin b Sammy 20 TG Southee lbw b Narine 18 IS Sodhi b Narine 9 N Wagner c Edwards b Narine 22 TA Boult not out 1 EXTRAS (b 6, lb 8, nb 4) 18 TOTAL (all out; 117.3 overs; 456 mins) 349 FALL OF WICKETS 1-18 (Rutherford, 5.2 ov), 2-43 (Fulton, 21.3 ov), 3-138 (Williamson, 55.3 ov), 4-174 (McCullum, 71.1 ov), 5-224 (Anderson, 88.2 ov), 6-269 (Watling, 100.6 ov), 7-306 (Taylor, 108.2 ov), 8-317 (Southee, 109.3 ov), 9-332 (Sodhi, 113.2 ov), 10-349 (Wagner, 117.3 ov) BOWLING: TL Best 14-1-63-1, DJG Sammy 23-8-69-2, V Permaul 35-6-103-1, SP Narine 42.3-17-91-6, N Deonarine 3-0-9-0 WEST INDIES 2ND INNINGS KC Brathwaite b Boult 7 KA Edwards c †Watling b Boult 1 KOA Powell c Southee b Boult 0 MN Samuels c †Watling b Anderson 8 S Chanderpaul c Williamson b Wagner 20 N Deonarine c Taylor b Wagner 13 D Ramdin lbw b Boult 18 DJG Sammy c †Watling b Southee 24 SP Narine not out 0 V Permaul lbw b Southee 0 TL Best lbw b Southee 0 EXTRAS (lb 12) 12 TOTAL (all out; 31.5 overs) 103 FALL OF WICKETS 1-12 (Brathwaite, 4.1 ov), 2-12 (Powell, 4.6 ov), 3-13 (Edwards, 8.1 ov), 4-40 (Samuels, 16.3 ov), 5-46 (Chanderpaul, 17.5 ov), 6-75 (Deonarine, 25.2 ov), 7-91 (Ramdin, 28.5 ov), 8-103 (Sammy, 31.1 ov), 9-103 (Permaul, 31.3 ov), 10-103 (Best, 31.5 ov) BOWLING: TA Boult 10-4-23-4, TG Southee 8.5-5-12-3, Corey J Anderson 6 -0-22-1, N Wagner 7-1-34-2 NEW ZEALAND 2ND INNINGS PG Fulton not out 4 HD Rutherford not out 0 EXTRAS (b 2) 2 TOTAL (0 wickets; 2 overs) 6 TO BAT KS Williamson, LRPL Taylor, BB McCullum*, Corey J Anderson, BJ Watling†, TG Southee, IS Sodhi, N Wagner, TA Boult BOWLING: TL Best 1-0-4-0, SP Narine 1-1-0 -0 Match details Toss New Zealand, who chose to field Player of the match tba Umpires IJ Gould (England) and NJ Llong (England) TV umpire PR Reiffel (Australia) Match referee RS Mahanama (Sri Lanka) Reserve umpire DJ Walker
Misbah-ul-Haq laid the blame for Pakistan's two-wicket loss in Dubai at the feet of his bowlers, although he admitted his team could perhaps have scored 15 more runs. Pakistan's 284 for 4 was the second-highest total at the stadium, but they conceded defeat with two balls to spare.
"Looking at the pitch, it was a good total and they were still needing around 50 runs, seven wickets down. We should have won that if we bowled according to the field. We lost the game in a few bad overs.
"The way the ball was coming on the pitch, it wasn't like Sharjah - it was a bit slow. And their bowlers were good at the death, bowling yorkers. That maybe prevented 10-15 runs from us at the end."
Otherwise Misbah chose to focus on the positives in Pakistan's performance. He had called for the top order to convert their starts ahead of the series, and in both matches so far, one of the top three has provided a hundred, while others in the top five have contributed significant scores. Ahmed Shehzad hit 124 in the second match.
"The biggest positive is that the batting is going well. Ahmed, again, it was a really good knock. He played a good one in South Africa and today, it was a mature one. It was good to see our top order getting big scores - that has been much needed for our team. It's normally the biggest problem for us, but I'm really happy with the way it's been going."
While conceding Pakistan's bowling and fielding was flawed, Misbah praised the efforts of Junaid Khan, whose three middle order wickets had brought Pakistan back into the match, and also said he was impressed with the run outs at the top of Sri Lanka's innings.
"Junaid is our outstanding bowler. In the last year and a half he's really improving and today he was good. But we really need to improve our death bowling. It was a problem for us.
"Our fielding was better. It brought us back into the game with the first two run outs. There were a few overthrows towards the end, but there were no lapses. Overall I think it was good."