Afridi stars in eight-wicket win

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Pakistan hardly broke a sweat in landing first blood of their five-match series against Sri Lanka in Dubai on Friday.

Pakistan hardly broke a sweat in landing first blood of their five-match series against Sri Lanka in Dubai on Friday.

Heading into the first ODI with the renewed services of Shahid Afridi, who recently came out of retirement, the hosts romped to an eight-wicket win with all of 28.2 overs to spare.

With leg-spinner Afridi's three key strikes in a lowly Sri Lankan innings of 131 all out, Pakistan promptly raced to their target on the back of half-centuries from Imran Farhat and Younis Khan.

The early loss of Mohammad Hafeez, who holed out to mid-on off the bowling of Suranga Lakmal for five, brought some marginal worry to the pursuit, but ultimately Farhat and Khan's 103-run stand at a rate of more than six runs per over proved ample.

Younis made sure to boost his career average in finishing with 56 not out, but Farhat's stay at the crease ended at 50 on the dot when his referral for an lbw decision failed and gave Lakmal a second scalp.

With an entirely decrepit total to defend, Sri Lanka's bowlers were never in the hunt, especially after their number-one gun – Lasith Malinga – travelled for all of 35 runs in his five overs.

Earlier captain Tillakaratne Dilshan's choice to bat first backfired as Sri Lanka slumped to a mere 131 all out in 40.3 overs.

The match marked the return of retiree-cum-recall Afridi and Abdul Razzaq to the Pakistan limited-overs fold – and the duo had a major say on proceedings.

Seamer Razzaq removed the in-form Sangakkara, fresh from his glut of runs in the Test series earlier this month, for just five and leg-spinner Afridi landed figures of three for 27.

Fellow slow bowlers Hafeez and Saeed Ajmal, meanwhile, pitched in with two scalps apiece.

Dinesh Chandimal's knock of 28, which held together a very fragile top- through middle-order, was as good as it got for the Sri Lankans, whose quest to draw first blood of the affair proved fruitless.

The second one-dayer gets underway at the same venue on Monday.

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