Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 4th ODI, Abu Dhabi December 25, 2013

Another Hafeez century gives Pakistan series


Pakistan 226 for 2 (Hafeez 113*) beat Sri Lanka 225 (Priyanjan 74, Sangakkara 51, Ajmal 4-39, Gul 3-37) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Mohammad Hafeez became the second Pakistani after Zaheer Abbas to make three hundreds in a bilateral ODI series as his side took an unbeatable 3-1 lead over Sri Lanka. Victory was set up by Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal, who limited Sri Lanka to 225 on a docile Abu Dhabi pitch after Angelo Mathews chose to bat following two losses while chasing.

The change of strategy did not work as Sri Lanka's batting floundered, before their innings was propped up by debutant Ashan Priyanjan's first half-century and Kumar Sangakkara's 83rd. The duo revived Sri Lanka after Gul had reduced them to 36 for 3, but the innings derailed again after Sangakkara's run-out made it 125 for 4 in the 29th over.

Priyanjan hit a sparkling 74, the highest by a Sri Lanka debutant, which was laced with aggressive shots, but fell three balls into the batting Powerplay, missing an adventurous scoop to fine leg off Junaid Khan. That did it for Sri Lanka, and though Mathews and another debutant Kithuruwan Vithanage tried, Ajmal's control meant there was no late release.

Gul continued a productive comeback after a long injury layoff, dismissing the first three batsmen. Gul had little to do with the first wicket, off his fourth ball. It was a put-away delivery, short and wide, but Kusal Perera smashed it to short cover, where Misbah-ul-Haq took a sharp catch. Gul had everything to with the second wicket, though, in the fourth over. He beat Tillakaratne Dilshan on the drive with an outswinger, and then moved the next one in. Dilshan shouldered arms, and saw the ball hit the top of off stump. In the eighth over, Dinesh Chandimal could not keep a drive down, and Misbah snapped up a harder chance at short cover, one-handed this time.

With two debutant batsmen in the XI, Sri Lanka needed Sangakkara to hang around. He did that, looking in no discomfort as he picked away the singles off his pads and drove elegantly on the off side.

It was the way Priyanjan batted, though, that would have pleased Sri Lanka even more. The 24-year old was a bit nervous at the start, playing everything off the back foot. But as soon as he drove Gul through extra cover for four off his eighth ball, he was a transformed batsman. A pull and a back-foot punch made it three fours in the Gul over.

Priyanjan still continued to prefer the back foot, but played with fast hands and immense confidence for someone playing his first international game. Anything just back of a good length he was quick to go back to and cut hard, and continued to pick up boundaries even as Sangakkara, intent on batting long, slowed down, Bilawal Bhatti squeezing in a few tight overs.

The partnership was still very much in control but was to end in confusion on 89. Priyanjan responded with a flurry of boundaries, lofting and pulling the spinners as Sri Lanka cantered past 150. However, his attempt to manufacture a boundary early in the Powerplay came unstuck.

Mathews had motored to 38 when he went back to a pitched-up Ajmal offbreak and was caught plumb in front. Vithanage, batting at No. 8, swung a few to the ropes to make 27, during which he was put down twice, both difficult chances. Ajmal spun out the tail to finish with four wickets, and handed his batsmen a bright chance to seal the series with a game to spare.

Hafeez put Pakistan on course with a 38-ball fifty. He added 84 with Ahmed Shehzad, the second-wicket partnership quelling whatever hopes Sri Lanka had of putting Pakistan under early pressure.

Before Sharjeel Khan fell in the sixth over to Mathews, he and Shehzad had started with a burst of drives that gave Pakistan momentum. Hafeez built on that with a series of solid pulls and cuts that put Pakistan well ahead of the asking rate.

Shehzad guided Suranga Lakmal to slip to depart in the 16th over for 44, but Hafeez continued unhindered, even hooking Lasith Malinga for six. Shehzad was on 17 when Hafeez walked in. By the time the opener reached 35, Hafeez was already celebrating his fifty. Sri Lanka's fast bowlers kept trying the short ball even after Hafeez had gone past the landmark, and Hafeez kept cracking pull after pull.

The century came off 98 deliveries, as Hafeez and Sohaib Maqsood put on an unbroken 111 runs. Maqsood kicked on from a slow start to end on a brisk 46, but the night belonged to Hafeez, and the afternoon to the Pakistan bowlers.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Habeeb on December 27, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    For SL-every new comer is starting to play like Jaysurya. When Kaushal debuted everybody hailed him like they hailed Chandi when he scored match winning 100 against IND-A led by Raina. Hope Priyan doesn't go their way. Now SL fans want more allrounders in team. IMO this will help in T20s but not in ODIs where rotation is also important. Merely picking young blood will not help. You need Big3 to guide them and they should do by rotating their batting order without thinking about their 50s/100s & avgs for team's cause. Tharanga is good in middle order as he showed during SA tour. On bowling front what wrong Mendis did? Just coz he was sorted out by teams you guys dropped him for WC final and since then using him sporadically affecting his performance and confidence. Atleast now give him long run. Post Vaas / Murali SL is struggling to take wickets. Ageing Herath alone can't win you matches. Now Mali has been sorted out by almost all teams they need bowlers. What happened to A.Dhananjaya

  • Habeeb on December 27, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    I am an Indian and happy for PAK's revival as it helps world cricket. PAK's revival started with the debut of Sohaib Maqsood as he eased pressure helping top n middle order of PAK. He has all the shots and cool temperament. Though Prof. scored three centuries he should improve his technique against quality pace bowling. Many criticize Hafeez citing pitch is flat, helpful conditions, dropped catch etc. yet one has to score and he did in splendid fashion burying the ghost of Steyn. (Same was the case with Kohli but he performed well in Oz and in SA also but the same cannot be said about Dhawan as he has to prove himself in alien conditions). Irfan being such a tall guy should be carefully handled as too much workload will only ruin his fitness...... contd.....

  • Srinivas on December 27, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    What happened to Sri Langa's lions and tigers? I'm sorry that they are not able to win though their team is full of young lions and tigers guided by old lions and tigers. Bangladesh will hunt them down with the way Sri Langa is playing now. Getting beaten black and blue in Sub-continent. Sri Langa is the most over-hyped team in the history of cricket.

  • Jawwad on December 26, 2013, 23:03 GMT

    Not that I am comparing Hafeez to the great but after 118 ODi's Saeed Anwar had 8 centuries with a 31.66 average. Hafeez certainly has room to improve. Sohaib on the other hand looks like a real find.

  • Umar on December 26, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    Malinga needs to play some longer version cricket (first class) to bring variety in his bowling. He has become a 20-20 bowler, just one-dimensional, dependant on only yorkers. You need to have other kids of weapons too (bouncer, out-swinger, etc). I think quitting tests has certainly resulted in deteriorating his quality of bowling in longer term. It's another thing to bowl 4 overs in a local league (IPL, Big Bash, etc.) and then bowling 10 overs in an ODI against an international opposition.

  • Srinath on December 26, 2013, 14:44 GMT

    It's high time SL drop Lasith Malinga and give the new comers more opportunities to lead up to next WC. Let him go early and play BIG BASH, IPL, Champions Leage etc. and make his money. Look at the way 2 debutants played. We need all rounders in a team not just 1 dicipline.

  • ESPN on December 26, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    I am disappointed to see Sri Lankans performance. They are much better team than how they performed. I am a Pakistani but I was expecting good series and unfortunately it turned out to be one sided. Hope Sri Lanka will learn from their mistakes and give a tough time to Pakistan in the coming test series. Also hope Pakistan bear Sri Lanka in test series too :) good look Pakistan

  • Dummy4 on December 26, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    Great performances by the Pakistani batting line up. I think the bowling attack of Sirilanka is week, they must bring some new faces, i dont know where has the Ajenta Mendus gone? he is a great bowler

  • Dummy4 on December 26, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    the best thing regarding this match was how shoaib maqsood played, very professional innings and that too under pressure. He showed maturity of a settled international player. Good sign for Pakistan.

    well played srilanka, am sure both countries will be playing T-20 final :)

  • Dummy4 on December 26, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    Hafeez is an average player he always score runs on weaker bolling attack and shezad is good batsman he has the ability to score runs on good bolling attacks i good see the new shoaib maqsood the way he is batting