Pakistan win thriller in Hambantota

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Pakistan won the first ODI against Sri Lanka by four wickets in Hambantota on Saturday, with a century stand between Sohaib Maqsood and Fawad Alam saving them after an initial top order collapse.

Pakistan won the first ODI against Sri Lanka by four wickets in Hambantota on Saturday, with a century stand between Sohaib Maqsood and Fawad Alam saving them after an initial top order collapse.

Sri Lanka recorded a formidable 275 for seven, but scored the runs in 45 overs after rain delayed the start and removed a further hour of play. Pakistan then made hard work of the chase, but Maqsood's 89 saw them home in the final over.

Pakistan won the delayed toss and opted to bowl, and initially that looked to be a good choice. Mohammad Irfan, back in the side after nearly a year out with a hip fracture, struck early to remove Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Wahab Riaz then added Upul Tharanga to the pile soon afterwards, and Kumar Sangakkara was out for 25 to Mohammad Hafeez. Dinesh Chandimal then failed to capitalise on his recall, out to Irfan for six.

This left Sri Lanka in trouble on 75 for four, but then Mahela Jayawardene and the most in form man in cricket, Angelo Mathews, saved the day. They put on a century stand over the next 20 overs, going at a rate of nearly six.

Jayawardene scored 63 before being run out by Umar Akmal, thus passing Inzamam-ul-Haq into fifth place on the all-time ODI run-scorers' list. Mathews, meanwhile, also added a half ton to his records.

Mathews went on to make 89 before being bowled by Wahab, having used 85 deliveries for his score. This left a solid platform for the tail to hit out, and they scored 70-odd runs in the last five overs, with Ashan Priyanjan making 39 not out off 15 balls.

Pakistan performed in a similar fashion, losing early wickets before a big stand saved the day. Opener Mohammad Hafeez was trapped LBW for 21, before Younis Khan was dismissed for just three.

Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq was deemed a failure again as he fell for 13, while Umar Akmal could only add 15. Opener Ahmed Shehzad was decent though, adding 49 to the score before being bowled by Thisara Perera.

Sri Lanka's bowlers were unable to take advantage though, with star paceman Lasith Malinga looking out of sorts, possibly with a sore back, and he gave up 60 runs in his nine overs.

Maqsood and Fawad then recorded Pakistan's best ODI stand for the sixth wicket, making 147 together before Fawad was out for 62 with three overs to go. Pakistan score 102 runs in the final 10 overs, after seeming out of it earlier on.

The final over was agonising as Shahid Afridi faced Nuwan Kulasekara. They went from needing two off four, to two off three, to two off tow as the all-rounder couldn't get it away. But he hit the fifth ball for four to end the game.

SL: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Ashan Priyanjan, Dinesh Chandimal, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga

Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Fawad Alam, Junaid Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan, Shahid Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz, Younis Khan

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