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Hafeez, Shehzad And Gul Star In Big Pakistan Win

Mohammad Hafeez pulls
Mohammad Hafeez has answered those questioning his continued presence at the top of Pakistan's batting line-up with a brace of centuries.
©Action Images / Jason Cairnduff Livepic

Pakistan 326-5 (Hafeez 140no, Shehzad 81) beat
Sri Lanka 213 (Gul 3-19) by 113 runs
Third One-Day International, Sharjah

A second century of the series from Mohammad Hafeez led Pakistan to a convincing 113-run win in the third One-Day International against Sri Lanka in Sharjah.

Hafeez hit an unbeaten 140 and added 160 for the second-wicket with Ahmed Shehzad as Pakistan piled up 326 for five after being asked to bat. Umar Gul then marked his international cricketing comeback by taking two wickets in his second over and then wrapped up the match by yorking Lasith Malinga with Sri Lanka on only 213.

Gul was given the new ball in his first ODI since March as Pakistan began the defence of their big total well. He had Kushal Perera caught by Shehzad for seven and then dismissed Dimuth Karunaratne for a duck four balls later.

Tillakaratne Dilshan attempted a revival and found support briefly from Kumar Sangakkara to add 27 for the third-wicket. However, Sangakkara was dismissed by Junaid Khan (2-40) for 14 as the required run rate steadily began to climb.

Dinesh Chandimal partnered Dilshan until the veteran opener became fourth man out for 59 with the score on 103 in the 22nd over. Chandimal would fall 29 runs later as Pakistan began to take wickets with increasing regularity.

Angelo Mathews did his best but, unlike on Friday, was unable to take his side close to the winning line. He was ninth man out for 44 a little after Seekkuge Prasanna had again displayed his batting talents with a breezy 15-ball 22 that included two sixes. Malinga (19) and Sachithra Senanayake (4 not out) added 21 for the last-wicket, but by then it was only delaying the inevitable defeat.

Besides Gul and Junaid, Shahid Afridi (1-41), Saeed Ajmal (2-37) and Mohammad Hafeez were the other wicket-takers for Pakistan; the latter backing up his earlier century by taking two for 35 with his off-breaks after, for once, not being given the new ball.

It was Hafeez’s eighth ODI century earlier in the evening that had set up the comfortable win for Pakistan. After losing Sharjeel Khan for two in Nuwan Kulasekara’s second over, he and second-match centurion Ahmed Shehzad added 160 in fewer than 28 overs.

Shehzad was run-out 19 runs short of making it back-to-back hundreds, but Hafeez made no mistake in reaching his milestone. He would go on to end on a career-best 140 off 136 balls and enjoyed useful support from Sohaib Maqsood (21 off 21 balls), Misbah-ul-Haq - who gave further support to those calling for his inclusion in the Twenty20 side by hitting 40 off just 26 balls - and Umar Akmal (23 not out off 12 balls).

Sri Lanka’s bowlers were all relatively ineffective, with Malinga arguably the pick with figures of one for 58 from his 10 overs, although Thisara Perera did take two for 58 from eight overs. Both the bowlers and Sri Lanka’s batsmen will have to do better if they are to keep the series alive ahead of a potential decider on Friday when the two sides meet in Abu Dhabi for the fourth ODI on Wednesday.

© Cricket World 2013