| Hat-trick hero Thisara Perera, on Saturday. (AFP)
Colombo: Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan by 44 runs in the fourth one-day International, in Colombo, on Saturday to gain a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.
Seamer Thisara Perera (4/42) bagged a hat-trick as Sri Lanka, who scored 243 for eight, bowled Pakistan out for 199 despite a 113-run stand for third wicket between opener Azhar Ali (81 not out) and skipper Misbah-ul Haq (57).
Kumar Sangakkara top-scored for Sri Lanka with a 130-ball 97 while off-spinners Mohammed Hafeez and Saeed Ajmal, and paceman Sohail Tanvir each bagged two wickets for Pakistan in the day-night match.
Pakistan won the opening one-dayer by six wickets and Sri Lanka won the second game by 76 runs in Pallekele, while the third match was abandoned due to rain in Colombo on Wednesday. The fifth one-dayer will be played in Colombo on Monday.
Sangakkara missed out on what would have been his first century at home in eight years when Azhar Ali ran from deep mid-wicket and took a diving catch off Saeed Ajmal. Sangakkara was given out after the on-field umpires referred the decision to the third umpire to rule whether the catch was held.
Sangakkara hit seven fours and three sixes in 130 balls, putting on 110 from 109 deliveries with Mahela Jayawardene, who made 40 off 50 deliveries with four fours.
On Saturday, for most of the innings, the Pakistan bowlers were disciplined. Their fielding was not brilliant, but was passable. But then Umar Gul dropped Sangakkara, when on 35 off 82 deliveries. The Sri Lankan grabbed the ‘life’ with both hands as he made the most of the batting Powerplay. The former captain carted 62 off his last 48 deliveries, and Sri Lanka got away to the kind of total that can worry Pakistan.
Till Sangakkara was put down in the 31st over, the home side had been tied down. Sangakkara and Tillekaratne Dilshan did add 55 for the second wicket, but they were hard-earned runs.