Ajmal, Gul give Pakistan chance of sealing series
Pakisani bowler Umar Gul (left) celebrates with his teammate Misbah Ul Haq after dismissing batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan of Sri Lanka during their fourth One Day International cricket match in Abu Dhabi on December 25, 2013
Gul removed openers Kusal Perera (eight), Tillakaratne Dilshan (eight) and Dinesh Chandimal (five) to reduce Sri Lanka, who won the toss and opted to bat, to 36-3 on a flat Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch before Ajmal (4-39) tightened the screws at the end of the innings.
Ashan Priyanjan fought hard during his 93-ball 74, which included ten boundaries, to register the highest score for a one-day debutant for Sri Lanka, beating Chamara Silva's 55 made against Australia in Colombo in 1999.
Priyanjan shared two useful stands of 89 with Kumar Sangakkara (51) for the fourth wicket and then added another 40 with skipper Angelo Mathews (38) to keep Sri Lanka on course for a respectable total.
But Sangakkara's run out, off a brilliant piece of fielding by substitute fielder Anwar Ali at point, derailed Sri Lanka. Sangakkara had looked good duing his 78-ball knock, featuring three boundaries.
Priyanjan had looked solid until he tried an unusual shot off paceman Junaid Khan and was bowled just three balls into the batting power-play.
Ajmal then bowled Nuwan Kulasekara (one), trapped a dangerous looking Mathews and Sachitra Senanayake (nought) to stand on the brink of a hat-trick -- Suranga Lakmal denied him the feat.
Kithuruwan Vithage cipped in with a useful 27 before he became one of Junaid's two wickets.
Sri Lanka had made three changes from the line-up of the third match which they lost by 113 runs, bringing in Priyanjan, Lakmal and Vithage for Dimuth Karunaratne, Seekkuge Prasanna and Thisara Perera.
Pakistan leads the five-match series 2-1 after winning the first and third match -- both in Sharjah -- while Sri Lanka won the second match in Dubai.
The fifth and final match will also be played in Abu Dhabi on Friday.