ABU DHABI: Debutant Imamul Haq scored a century and propelled Pakistan to a comfortable win against Sri Lanka in the third ODI at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
A brilliant century by Imam, who scored 100 off 125 balls, set the stage for Pakistan to win the five-match ODI series 3-0.
Pakistan were off to a steady start and reached the 50-run mark without the loss of any wickets in the third ODI at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Openers Imamul Haq and Fakhar Zaman were putting runs up on the board in a steady fashion and looked comfortable at the crease.
During the first innings, energetic seamer Hasan Ali became the quickest player to reach 50 one-day international wickets for Pakistan as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 208.
The 23-year-old took a career-best 5-34 and was ably assisted by leg-spinner Shadab Khan (2-37) as Sri Lanka, who won the toss and batted, lost their last nine wickets for only 106 runs.
Sri Lanka were off to a solid start but faltered against a determined Pakistan bowling attack as they lost wickets in quick succession in the middle of the innings.
Sri Lanka skipper Upul Tharanga (61) and Niroshan Dickwella (18) put on 59 for the first wicket, but from 102-1 in the 26th over their innings was derailed by Pakistani bowlers.
Shadab Khan, man-of-the-match for his 52 not out and 3-47 in the second game on Monday, had Dinesh Chandimal (19) leg-before and Tharanga caught in the deep.
Tharanga, who hit a brilliant 112 not out in the previous match, hit five boundaries during his 80-ball knock.
Hasan Ali, who had given Pakistan the early breakthrough with Dickwella´s wicket, removed Chamara Kapugedera (18), Milinda Siriwardana (two) and Jeffrey Vandersay (nought) to complete 50 wickets in his 24th ODI.
The previous record was held by legendary paceman Waqar Younis, who took 27 ODIs to reach the mark.
Hasan’s previous best bowling figures were 5-38 against the West Indies in Guyana earlier this year.
Lahiru Thirimanne (28) and Thisara Perera (38) took Sri Lanka past the 200 mark.
Pakistan lead the five-match series 2-0 after winning the first match by 83 runs in Dubai and a 32-run victory in Abu Dhabi.
Pakistan brought in uncapped Imamul Haq for Ahmed Shehzad, who failed to perform with the bat in the opening two matches of the series. All-rounder Imad Wasim also made way for Fahim Ashraf, who debuted during Champions Trophy in June this year.
The Green Shirts wish to continue their winning momentum after beating Sri Lanka by 32 runs in the second ODI on Monday, and taking a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
The last match became Sri Lanka’s ninth defeat in a row. For Pakistan, it was the sixth consecutive win in ODIs and the eighth victory in the last 10 matches.
The fourth and fifth ODIs will be played in Sharjah on October 20 and 23. The two teams will also play three T20 internationals, the first two in Abu Dhabi (October 26 and 27) and the last in Lahore (October 29).