Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by five wickets in the third and final day-night international between the two sides in Karachi on Wednesday, taking the three-match series 2-0.
Abid Ali was named man of the match for his 74-run knock. “However much I thank Allah, it’s not enough. I got a good opportunity today and was happy to do well. I must thank the management and players for backing me. I am thankful to the fans for coming to the ground here in Karachi. Hope to have more international cricket here,” ESPNcricinfo quoted him as saying.
According to the cricket website, Babar Azam was awarded the Player of the Series title. “The hundred two nights ago was my first hundred in Pakistan, so proud of that. My plan is to bat all the overs I can. We’ve got a good confidence boost from this series, hope to carry it through to the T20Is,” he said.
The teams will now face each other in three Twenty20 internationals in Lahore.
Sri Lanka were lifted to 297-9 in their 50 overs with opener Danushka Gunathilaka scoring a career best 133 before Pakistan reached their target in 48.2 overs.
Fakhar Zaman led the way with 76 while fellow opener Abid Ali scored 74 and Haris Sohail 56.
The host team were off to a good chase before the first wicket fell at 19.3 overs, when Abid Ali (74 off 67) was dismissed off a googly by Hasaranga.
Babar Azam (31 off 26) was ruled ‘out’ after a successful leg-before-wicket review appeal of Pradeep’s delivery at 29.1 overs.
Fakhar Zaman (76 off 91), in an attempt to hit an upper cut, ended up hitting it towards the third man fielder (Shanaka) and was caught out.
Earlier, Gunathilaka knocked a 134-ball 133 with 16 boundaries and a six for his second hundred which lifted Sri Lanka after they won the toss and batted on a flat National stadium pitch.
Gunathilaka, suspended twice for breaches of disciplines in the last two years, held the innings together with stands of 88 with skipper Lahiru Thirimanne (36) for the second, 50 for the third with Angelo Perera (13) and 74 with debutant Minod Bhanuka (36) for the fourth in a brilliant display of batting.
He was finally dismissed in the 45th over, bowled by paceman Mohammad Amir who was the best Pakistani bowler with 3-50.
It was Amir who gave Pakistan an early breakthrough when he had Avishka Fernando caught behind for four by Sarfaraz Ahmed, leading the Green Shirts for the 50th time in an ODI.
Gunathilaka defied Pakistan’s bowling with guts and determination, improving his previous ODI best of 116 he made against Zimbabwe at Hambantota in 2017.
Thirimanne hit four boundaries off 54 balls while Bhanuka had two sixes in his 39-ball knock.
All-rounder Dasun Shanaka hit a quick 24-ball 43 with five boundaries and two sixes as Sri Lanka added 50 in the last five overs.
Pakistan won the second game by 67 runs while the first match was rained off without a ball being bowled, both in Karachi.
For today’s fixture, the side brought Abid Ali and Mohammad Nawaz for Imamul Haq and Imad Wasim.
For Sri Lanka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Isuru Udana and Oshada Fernando made way for Bhanuka, Lakshan Sandakan and Perera.