Pakistan made a triumphant start to the One-day series as they registered an easy 6-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the 1st ODI at Pallekele, on Thursday.
Mohammad Hafeez top-scored with 37 in a chase of 135, as the visitors secured their 9th win in 11 matches over Sri Lanka. The match was interrupted several times by rain, as Umar gul harness the conditions to grab 3 wickets in a sharp opening spell, restricting the home team to 135-8 after Mahela Jayawardene selected to bat.
The fast bowler (3-24) removed captain Jayawardene, Dilshan and Dinesh Chandimal to send Sri Lanka reeling at 23-3 in 9 overs, in the rain-curtained encounter which was eventually reduced to 42-overs-a-side.Although Pakistan lost Azhar Ali and Younis Khan early in the chase, Hafeez, captain Misbah-ul-Haq (30) and Umar Akmal (36 n.o.) ensured that there were no further hiccoughs for the visitors, as they romped home in the 35th over with 6 wickets to spare.
Earlier, Gul was superbly back by paceman Mohammad Sami, who dismiss Kumar Sangakkara and all-rounder Mathews in his first 2 overs to reduce the hosts to 41-5. Sami finished with 3-19 off 6 overs. Lahiru Thirimanne, who added 50 for the 8th wicket with Nuwan Kulasekara (18), top-scored for Sri Lanka with an unbeaten 42 while extras contributed 31, the 2nd-highest tally of the innings.
Thisara Perera (17) and Upul Tharanga (10) were the other batsmen to reach double-figures.Sangakkara, who took 20 deliveries to open his account, complete just nine runs before being trapped leg-before while Mathews was caught at 1st slip by captain Misbah-ul-Haq for no score. Off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez bagged 2 of the last 3 wickets to finish with an impressive 2-20 off 10 overs. Gul struck in his 3rd over when he had opener Dilshan (five) caught by Saeed Ajmal at mid-on and then trapped Jayawardene (three) leg-before in his next over.
He put more pressure on Sri Lanka when he bowled Chandimal for no score in his 5th over.
The second ODI will also be played in Pallekele on Saturday and the last 3 games in Colombo on June 13, 16 and 18. The one-dayers will be followed by a 3-test series starting on June 22.
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