Babar, Shinwari sizzle as Pakistan overcome spirited SL resistance


KARACHI: Big-hitting opener Fakhar Zaman hit a fifty, comeback batsman Iftikhar Ahmed smashed an eye-catching cameo before the pace duo of Usman Shinwari and Mohammad Amir broke the back of Sri Lanka’s top order.But it was a match that would mainly be remembered for yet another One-day International special from Babar Azam. And for an incredible sixth-wicket stand featuring Sri Lanka’s little-known batters — Shehan Jayasuriya and Dasun Shanaka.Jayasuriya and Shanaka lifted the Islanders from a catastrophic 28-5 after Shinwari, Amir and Imad Wasim took five wickets within a span of just 10 runs. The duo put on 177 – Sri Lanka’s best sixth-wicket partnership in ODIs. It was also the highest stand for the sixth wicket against Pakistan in one-day history. But both of them fell in quick succession and any Sri Lankan hopes of an upset win faded with their exit. In the end, Sri Lanka chasing 306 were bowled out for 238 in 46.5 overs handing Pakistan a 67-run win.Shinwari, the 25-year-old left-arm pacer who was unlucky to miss out on a World Cup spot, was Pakistan’s bowling hero with impressive figures of 5-51 on what was a bit of a lifeless wicket. Leggie Shadab Khan took two wickets but gave away 76 runs from 9.5 overs.Jayasuriya, who had managed just 96 in his previous 10 ODI appearances, scored a career-best 96 from 107 balls. Shanaka made 68 – also his highest ODI score – from 80 balls with six fours and two sixes.Before the stunning Sri Lankan fight back, the match had mostly been about Pakistan’s brightest batting star – Babar Azam The in-form Babar scored a majestic 115 from just 105 balls guiding Pakistan to 305-7 in the first ODI in Karachi in more than ten years at the National Stadium on Monday.Babar, who turns 25 on October 15, celebrated his ascent to Pakistan’s vice-captaincy with a stunning knock which made sure that the home team will not face many problems in beginning the home series with a victory.Punctuated with eight fours and four sweetly-timed sixes, it was Babar’s 11th ODI ton. With it, Babar became the first Pakistani batsman to make 1,000 runs in a calendar year in ODIs. He took just 19 innings to reach the landmark, two less than the legendary Javed Miandad, who scored 1,000 runs in 21 innings in 1987. He is the only batsman to reach the 1000-run mark this year.Babar has taken just 71 innings to get to 11 ODI tons, nine fewer than Indian star Virat Kohli. Only Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock made 11 centuries faster than him, having taken 64 and 65 innings respectively.Without frontline bowlers Lasith Malinga and Akila Dananjaya, Sri Lanka were unable to stop the flow of runs in the middle overs allowing a 111-run third-wicket partnership featuring Babar and Haris Sohail (40 from 48) to flourish. Later, Iftikhar, playing his first ODI in four years, smashed an unbeaten 32 from 20 Pakistan added 72 runs to their total off the last seven overs.A sizeable crowd was treated to a polished innings from Babar, who scored his runs with an enviable ease. He reached his fifty with an attractive cover drive. The hundred came with a well-timed cut backward point. He eventually fell to Lahiru Kumara – one of four Pakistani wickets to fall between the 40th and 49th over.Earlier, openers Fakhar and Imam-ul-Haq put on 73 for the first wicket from 14.4 overs. Imam made a 41-ball 31 but Fakhar gave the crowd something to sheer about with 54 from 65 balls with the help of six fours and a six.Pakistan won tossPakistanFakhar Zaman c Udana b Hassaranga 54Imam-ul-Haq lbw b de Silva 31Babar Azam c Hasaranga b Kumara 115Haris Sohail run out 40*†Sarfraz Ahmed run out 8Iftikhar Ahmed not out 32Imad Wasim c Fernando b Udana 12Wahab Riaz run out 2Extras (lb 8, nb 1, w 2) 11Total (7 wickets; 50 overs) 305Did not bat: Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Usman ShinwariFall: 1-73, 2-104, 3-215, 4-242, 5-261, 6-278, 7-305Bowling: Jayasuriya 10-1-48-0; Pradeep 9-0-59-0; Udana 9-0-60-1 (w 2); Kumara 10-0-59-1; Gunathilaka 2-0-8-0; Hasaranga 10-0-63-2 (nb 1)Sri LankaM D Gunathilaka c Imad b Amir 14†S Samarawickrama b Shinwari 6W I A Fernando c Fakhar b Shinwari 0B O P Fernando lbw b Imad 1*H D R L Thirimanne c Sarfraz b Shinwari 0G S N F G Jayasuriya c Sarfraz b Shinwari 96M D Shanaka c Fakhar b Shadab 68P W H de Silva c Iftikhar b Shadab 30I Udana c Sarfraz b Shinwari 1C B R L S Kumara lbw b Wahab 1N Pradeep not out 0Extras (b 1, lb 15, w 5) 21Total (all out; 46.5 overs) 238Fall: 1-18, 2-22, 3-22, 4-22, 5-28, 6-205, 7-205, 8-211, 9-232, 10-238Bowling: Amir 7-1-21-1 (w 2); Shinwari 10-1-51-5 (w 1); Imad 7-1-38-1; Wahab 9-0-27-1; Shadab 9.5-0-76-2 (w 1); Iftikhar 4-1-9-0 (w 1)Result: Pakistan won by 67 runsMan of the Match: Usman Shinwari (Pakistan)Umpires: Shozab Raza (Pakistan) and Michael Gough (England). TV umpire: Joel Wilson (West Indies). Match referee: David Boon (Australia)
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