Dinesh Chandimal notched a half century for the first time in 11 months and carried Sri Lanka to a thrilling two-wicket victory over Pakistan in the fifth and final one-day international on Friday.
Chandimal, who scored his last ODI fifty against Australia in January, made a composed unbeaten 64 off 70 balls with just one four and a six as he put on a match-winning 40-run stand with No. 10 batsman Ajantha Mendis (19 not out) to guide his team to 235-8 in 49.4 overs.
Pakistan, which clinched the series 3-2, was bowled out for 232 with Lasith Malinga (4-57) finally making an impact after taking just two wickets in the previous four matches.
Captain Misbah-ul-Haq top scored with 51 for his 15th half century of 2013 and finished the year as the leading scorer in limited-overs cricket.
''I'm over the moon,'' Chandimal said. ''Credit goes to Mendis at the end to help us get through as sometimes I was a bit nervous.''
Sri Lanka looked to have spoiled a perfect start of 75 runs by their openers Kusal Perera (47) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (45) when it limped to 195-8 in the 46h over.
Chandimal and Mendis swung the game in Sri Lanka's favor when they hit a six each off Umar Gul's 49th over before Mendis, playing his first match of the series, hit the winning boundary off Anwar Ali over extra cover to finish off the game.
''We really fought well, but it just slipped in the last three overs,'' Misbah said. ''The pitch was a bit slow, but still we were 20-25 runs short. The bowlers did well to pull back the game, but a few lapses in the field cost us ultimately.''
Perera hit three fours and four sixes in a blistering start to Sri Lanka run-chase before he was out plumb leg before wicket while trying reverse sweep off Mohammad Hafeez.
Dilshan became the sixth Sri Lankan batsman to complete 8,000 runs in one-day internationals when he reached 31 but top edged a pull shot off Junaid Khan (3-31), who also uprooted Kumar Sangakkara's leg stump (22).
Pakistan spinners choked the middle and lower order with some superb tidy bowling by Saeed Ajmal (2-43) and a miserly bowled 10-over spell of Abdul Rehman (0-38) as they lost last three wickets in space of six runs before Chandimal and Malinga got them through.
''Once again, a little disappointed with the batsmen who got starts but didn't go from there,'' Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said. ''Mendis came to the party, along with Chandimal, and got us over the line.''
Earlier, Mathews lost the toss but led from the front with the new ball and preserved Malinga until the first batting powerplay. Opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad (17) hit Suranga Lakmal for a four and a six off successive deliveries before playing an expansive shot and holed out at mid-on in the sixth over.
Malinga was guilty of bowling too full in the previous four matches and conceded 10 runs in his first over but varied his pace intelligently by having struggling Sharjeel Khan caught and bowled off a slower ball in the next over.
Malinga struck again when Sohaib Maqsood was splendidly caught two-handedly by Tillakaratne Dilshan before Misbah and in-form Mohammad Hafeez (41) steadied the innings with a 58-run stand.
Hafeez, who struck three centuries in the series, was bowled by Mathews in his return spell off a delivery that kept low and knocked back the off stump.
Hafeez finished the series with 448 runs in five innings.
Malinga removed Misbah soon after the Pakistan captain reached his half century with a six, when wicketkeeper Sangakkara plucked a fine low catch to his left.
Pakistan was in sight of being dismissed for less than 200 until Anwar Ali (41 not out) and Ajmal added 32 runs off 23 balls for the ninth wicket, including 16 off Malinga's last over.
Lakmal closed the innings by claiming the last two wickets off successive deliveries with three balls to spare.
Both teams now play three-Test series, starting at Abu Dhabi from Dec. 31.
SRI LANKA INNINGS
Sri Lanka pulled off a thrilling two-wicket victory with two balls to spare in the fifth and final one-day international against Pakistan at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday night.
Chasing a competitive target of 233 on a slow paced wicket which assisted spinners, Sri Lanka ran into heavy weather despite being given an explosive start by their opening pair Kusal Perera and Tillakaratne who posted 75 in 12.2 overs.
Kusal blasted four sixes and three boundaries in his sparkling 41-ball 47 while Dilshan made 45 off 69 balls with the help of four boundaries.
Pakistan who won the series 3-2, hit back by strangling the Sri Lanka batsmen with their spin trio of Hafeez, Rehman and Ajmal.
Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular intervals as the asking rate mounted.
Dinesh Chandimal dropped anchor and kept his cool with a dogged knock.
Having failed to get a half century in his last 19 innings, he reached it with his first boundary but was in danger of running out of partners as Sri Lanka slumped to 195-8 in the 46th over.
However, Sri Lanka found an unlikely batting hero in Ajantha Mendis who shared in an unbroken 40-run stand off 25 balls with Chandimal to steer Sri Lanka home.
Mendis hit two boundaries, including the winning hit and a six in his 14-ball 19 while Chandimal was unbeaten on 64 off 70 balls.
Junaid Khan claimed three for 31 while Ajmal snared two for 43.
Mendis slams Ali over the infield for boundary to extra cover to bring Sri Lanka victory by two wickets and two balls to spare.
Gul for 15 runs in the 49th over with Chandimal and Mendis hammering a six apiece. SL 230-8 in 49 overs require three from six balls with Chandimal on strike against Ali.
Mendis gives himself and whacks the fourth delivery from Gul over extra cover for a six.
Chandimal takes charge by hammering the first ball from Gul in the 48th over for a six over midwicket.
Mendis is dropped by Maqsood at cover off Ajmal and hammers a boundary with a reverse sweep. SL 215-8 in 48 overs requiring 18 from 12 balls.
Chandimal pulls Junaid to the square leg boundary to reach his 10th ODI half century, his first in 19 innings. SL 206-8 in 47 overs requiring 27 off 1 balls.
Mendis survives after being adjudged leg before off Ajmal with Sri Lanka successfully overturning the decision. SL 197-8 in 46 overs need 36 from 24 balls.
Ajmal claims his third wicket bowling Malinga who attempts to heave him out of the ground. SL 195-8 in 45.3 overs.
Lasith Malinga b Saeed Ajmal 0 (1b 0x4 0x6)
Junaid strikes with Senanayake miscuing a pull to Hafeez. SL 194-7 in 45 overs.
Sachithra Senanayake c Mohammad Hafeez b Junaid Khan 3 (5b 0x4 0x6)
Sri Lanka need 43 from 36 balls with four wickets in hand. SL 190-6 in 44 overs.
Ajmal strikes beating Vithanage through the gate with the arm ball after the left hander had sneaked a boundary to third man earlier. SL 19-6 in 43.4 overs.
Kithruwan Vithanage b Saeed Ajmal 14 (13b 2x4 0x6)
Sri Lanka are 181-5 in 43 overs need 52 from 42 balls.
Sri Lanka need 56 from 48 balls having picked up seven runs off Ajmal's last over. SL 177-5 in 42 overs.
Vithanage slashes Ali past slip to the third man fence opening his account as Sri Lanka get their first in 138 balls. SL 170-5 in 41 overs.
Ali strikes as Mathews is adjudged caught behind after Pakistan successfully overturn the original not out decision. SL 166-5 in 40.2 overs.
Angelo Mathews c Umar Akmal b Anwar Ali 8 (31b 0x4 0x6)
Sri Lanka need 67 from 60 ball with four wickets in hand. SL 166-4 in 40 overs.
Sri Lanka manage just 16 in the Batting Powerplay as Rehman completes an excellent spell with figures of 10-0-38-0.
Sri Lanka require 69 off 66 balls. SL 164-4 in 39 overs.
Rehman bowls another excellent over conceding just one run as Sri Lanka need 74 offf 72 balls. SL 159-4 in 38 overs.
The equation is narrowing with Lanka needing 75 off 78 balls. SL 158-4 in 37 overs.
Gul strikes with his first delivery of a new spell after taking over from the injured Junaid to finish an incomplete over as Priyanjan edges to be caught behind. SL 137-4 in 30.2 overs.
Ashan Priyanjan c Umar Akmal b Umar Gul 1 (6b 0x4 0x6)
Priyanjan survives a confident leg before appeal off Rehman with Pakistan hesitating to go for the review though replays suggested it would have been out. SL 137-3 in 30 overs.
Junaid strikes again dismissing the experienced Sangakkara who walks across and beaten by the swing to see his leg stump cartwheeling. SL 129-3 in 28.5 overs.
Kumar Sangakkara b Junaid Khan 22 (67m 48b 0x4 0x6)
Chandimal gets off the mark after facing eight deliveries. SL 116-2 in 26 overs.
Junaid strikes as Dilshan miscues a bouncer to Ajmal at midwicket. SL 113-2 in 24.1 overs.
TM Dilshan c Saeed Ajmal b Junaid Khan 45 (69b 4x4 0x6)
The boundaries have dried up for Sri Lanka with left arm spinner Rehman proving to be a handful for Dilshan and Sangakkara. SL 113-1 in 24 overs.
Dilshan gets a boundary off Rehman edging to third man playing with the spin. SL 93-1 in 18 overs.
Dilshan completes 8,000 ODI runs with a single off Hafeez. SL 86-1 in 17 overs.
The spin duo of Hafeez and Ajmal have put the skids on runaway Sri Lanka. SL 74-1 in 14 overs.
Kusal's enterprising knock comes to an end as he trapped leg before by Hafeez attempting a reverse sweep and missing the line. SL 75-1 in 12.2 overs.
Kusal Perera lbw b Mohammad Hafeez 47 (41b 3x4 4x6)
Ajmal manages to curb the aggressive Kusal in his first over but Sri Lanka have got off to a flying start. SL 68-0 in 10 overs.
Junaid comes into the attack but he is dismissed to the long on fence for a boundary and swings him over backward square leg for his fourth six by southpaw Kusal. SL 67-0 in 9 overs.
Spin is introduced in the eighth over with Hafeez coming into the attack but there is no stopping Kusal who slams him over long on for his third six. SL 56-0 in 8 overs.
Kusal whacks Gul this time from outside off over midwicket for his second six. SL 48-0 in 7 overs.
Kusal clubs Ali for a boundary back over his head and then hoists him over midwicket with a flick of the wrists for the first six of the innings off consecutive balls. SL 38-0 in 6 overs.
Dilshan smacks Gul powerful to square leg for another boundary. SL 26-0 in 5 overs.
Kusal hits his first boundary slamming Ali straight down the ground. SL 21-0 in 4 overs.
Anwar Ali bowls an excellent opening over beating Dilshan a couple of times. SL 11-0 in 2 overs.
Dilshan makes his intentions clear slashing Gul over the slip cordon for a boundary to third man. SL 9-0 in 1 over.
Dilshan cracks the first ball he faced from Gul through the covers for a boundary to begin Sri Lanka's run chase.
Sri Lanka produced their best bowling performance of the series to restrict Pakistan to 232 in 49.3 overs in the fifth and final one-day international at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Malinga was back to his best for the first time in the series claiming four for 57 while Lakmal claimed three for 42.
Misbah top scored with 51 off 74 balls hitting two boundaries and a six while Anwar Ali remained unbeaten on 41.
Having opted to bat first on a slow paced wicket, Pakistan were put on the backfoot with skipper Mathews opening the attack and returning excellent figures of 10-1-26-1.
Pakistan were not helped by the soft dismissal of the in-form Shehzad (17) as they made slow progress in the Powerplay overs.
Dilshan took a brilliant catch to send back Maqsood cheaply off Malinga who produced a peach of a delivery to rattle the stumps of the man of the series Hafeez (41).
Skipper Misbah shared in a 58-run stand for the fourth wicket with Hafeez and a further 41 for the fifth with Akmal (20) before both fell in successive overs during the Batting Powerplay.
Sangakkara took a brilliant catch to send back Misbah off Malinga while lobbed a catch to Dilshan as Pakistan slumped to 173-6 in the 40th over.
Anwar Ali salvaged the innings smashing two boundaries and a six in the final over from Malinga to remain unbeaten on 41 off 3 balls as Pakistan finished strongly.
Double strike by Lakmal in the final over trapping last man Junaid for a duck as Pakistan are all out for 232 in 49.3 overs.
Junaid Khan lbw b Lakmal 0 (1b 0x4 0x6)
Lakmal traps Ajmal leg before with Pakistan being unsuccessful with the decision review. Pak 232-9 in 49.2 overs.
Saeed Ajmal lbw b Lakmal 8 (9b 1x4 0x6)
Malinga finishes his spell with figures of 10-0-57-4.
Malinga goes for 16 in his final over as Anwar Ali smashes a couple of boundaries and a six. Pak 228-8 in 49 overs.
Anwar Ali dances down the track and slams Mendis down the ground for a boundary. Pak 212-8 in 48 overs.
Pakistan are successful in overturning a leg before verdict after Malinga is adjudged to have got Ali. Pak 202-8 in 47 overs.
Gul is run out after a mix-up with his partner and stumbling on his return to the non-striker's end. Pak 194-8 in 45.3 overs.
Umar Gul run out 8 (12b 1x4 0x6)
Gul hits his first boundary slamming Lakmal to fine leg. Pak 192-7 in 45 overs.
Malinga is firing on all cylinders and claims his fourth wicket trapping Rehman leg before. Pak 176-7 in 40.5 overs.
Abdur Rehman lbw b Malinga 1 (5b 0x4 0x6)
Pakistan lose Misbah and Akmal for 31 runs in the Batting Powerplay. Pak 173-6 in 40 overs.
Pakistan suffer another blow as Akmal flicks Mendis to give Dilshan an easy catch at short midwicket. Pak 173-6 in 39.3 overs.
Umar Akmal c Dilshan b Mendis 20 (37b 2x4 0x6)
Malinga has the last laugh as Misbah tickles one down the leg side for Sangakkara to take a brilliant one-handed catch. Pak 169-5 in 38.2 overs.
Misbah-ul-Haq c Sangakkara b Malinga 51 (74b 2x4 1x6)
Misbah slams Malinga over square for a massive six to bring up his 35th ODI half century off 73 balls.
Akmal gets a boundary off Senanayake. Pak 163-4 in 3 overs.
Malinga returns and is despatched to the point boundary by Akmal. Pak 154-4 in 37 overs.
Akmal gets a life in the first over of Batting Powerplay with Vithanage flooring a sitter in the deep off Senanayake 146-4 in 36 overs.
Mathews completes a wonderful spell with figures of 10-1-26-1. Pak 142-4 in 35 overs.
Pakistan are choking with Mathews conceding just a single. Pak 136-4 in 33 overs.
Pakistan continue to struggle against Mendis with Akmal surviving a confident appeal for leg before with Sri Lanka unsuccessful with the decision review. Pak 135-4 in 32 overs.
Hafeez misses out on a record four centuries finishing with an aggregate of 448.
Hafeez is stunned by an in-dipper from Mathews which kept low as Sri Lanka take the upper hand. Pak 128-4 in 2.3 overs.
Mohammad Hafeez b Mathews 41 (56b 2x4 0x6)
The 50 partnership between Hafeez and Misbah for the unfinished fourth wicket comes off 67 balls. Pak 125-3 in 28 overs.
Mathews returns to the attack but is hit for a boundary as Misbah hooks a short ball to square leg. Pak 116-3 in 27 overs.
Mendis bowls a maiden to Misbah as Sri Lanka keep it tight. Pak 102-3 in 24 overs.
Pakistan hit their first boundary after 56 deliveries as Misbah sweeps Dilshan to fine leg. Pak 102-3 in 23 overs.
Mendis comes into the attack in the 22nd over and Misbah survives a confident appeal for leg before. Pak 95-3 in 22 overs.
Lakmal returns as Malinga is given a break after a superb opening spell of 4-0-19-2.
Malinga takes his second wicket as Dilshan takes a stunning catch at point to dismiss Maqsood. Pak 70-3 in 16.1 overs.
Sohaib Maqsood c Dilshan b Malinga 7 (14b 1x4 0x6)
Maqsood gets into his stride slamming Senanayake through the covers for a boundary. Pak 64-2 in 14 overs.
Malinga strikes his second over with a slow yorker which is scooped into the air by Sharjeel which is accepted gleefully by the bowler. Pak 54-2 in 12.4 overs.
Sharjeel Khan c and b Malinga 18 (35b 2x4 0x6)
Sharjeel is struggling as Senanayake bowls a maiden, the second of the innings. Pak 53-1 in 12 overs.
Malinga goes for 10 in his first over without conceding a boundary. Pak 53-1 in 11 overs.
Malinga comes on in the 11th over replacing Mathews who bowled a superb opening spell returning figures of 5-1-12-0.
Spin introduced in the 10th over with Senanayake conceding just three runs as Pakistan make 43-1 at the end of the Powerplay overs.
Mathews bowls a maiden to Sharjeel. Pak 41-1 in 9 overs.
Hafeez cracks consecutive boundaries off Lakmal through extra cover and midwicket. Pak 40-1 in 8 overs.
Shehzad virtually throws his wicket away after hitting a boundary and a six by miscuing to Priyanjan at mid-on. Pak 30-1 in 5.3 overs.
Ahmed Shehzad c Priyanjan b Lakmal 17 (16b 2x4 1x6)
Shehzad gets into his stride hammering a boundary over extra cover and then hoisting Lakmal over mid-on for a six.
Sharjeel cracks Mathews through the covers for another boundary aided by sloppy fielding from Chandimal. Pak 20-0 in 5 overs.
Shehzad gets his first boundary with a beautiful cover drive off Lakmal. Pak 15-0 in 4 overs.
Sharjeel hits the first boundary of the match punching Mathews to long-off with superb timing. Pak 9-0 in 3 overs.
Lakmal has been the new ball from the other end instead of Malinga.
Mathews opens the attack with Sharjeel on strike to get proceedings under way. Pak 1-0 in 1 over.
Ajantha Mendis has come in for Kulasekera in Sri Lanka's line up.
Anwar Ali comes in for Bilawal Bhatti while Abdur Rehman replaces Afridi who returned home because of a family emergency after the fourth ODI.
Pakistan - Sharjeel Khan, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Anwar Ali, Abdur Rehman, Junaid Khan, Umar Gul
Sri Lanka - Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara†, Dinesh Chandimal, Ashan Priyanjan, Angelo Mathews, Kithruwan Vithanage, Sachithra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga
Pakistan have won the toss and will bat first.
This match has extra significance as the Officiating Replay System (ORS) will be trialled during this match.
The ORS is a key experiment in the ICC's continuing bid to improve the Decision Review System (DRS).
Though the DRS is used in most international matches barring those involving India, its usage, implementation and efficiency continues to be debated.
The ORS aims to iron out one key drawback in the current system, by allowing TV umpires to have control of the replays they can see, an improvement over the current scenario where they depend on replays provided by the broadcasters.
Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews will recall the spirit of Dubai as they play for pride in the final one-day international against Pakistan at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Pakistan have taken an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the series after thumping Sri Lanka by eight wickets.
"Definitely, we can't lose 4-1. We need to come back really hard and win," said Mathews after losing the series.
Sri Lanka were thrashed by 113 runs in third ODI in Sharjah after the first narrowly by 11 runs after staging a great comeback in the opening match.
They bounced back to level the series with a thrilling two-run win in Dubai but were blown away by Hafeez prolific form and the return of Pakistan's pace ace Umar Gul.
Asked whether they had the capacity to fight back, Mathews said: "We've shown that in the second game. We certainly can do it. It's just staying positive and trying to win."
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief Jayantha Dharmadasa has called for an inquiry into the team's poor performance during the ongoing one-day series.
Dharmadasa has told the manager of the Sri Lanka team Michael de Zoysa to compile a detailed report concerning the struggles of Angelo Mathews' team in UAE, according to 'Ceylon Today'.
A report is normally forwarded by the manager at the end of the tour.
"The national team manager usually gives a report to the SLC at the end of each home and away international series," Dharmadasa said.
"But, this time I have told him (Michael de Zoysa) to find the exact cause for the poor performance of our players in the five-match ODI series through his report. And only after we peruse that report, we could think of taking any suitable action to arrest the decline in performance of the team."