HAMBANTOTA – Sohaib Maqsood and Fawad Alam struck quick-fire fifties and combined in a record 147-run sixth wicket stand as Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by four wickets with one ball remaining in the first ODI.
Shahid Afridi (14 not out) hit a boundary off Nuwan Kulasekara as the visitors, chasing 275 in 45 overs in the rain-hit match, reached their Duckworth-Lewis revised target to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews earlier bailed his team out of trouble with his highest ODI score as the hosts made 275 for seven in their 45 overs after Misbah-ul-Haq had won the toss and put Sri Lanka in under overcast conditions.
In reply, Pakistan looked dead and buried at 106 for five in the 23rd over but Alam (62) and Maqsood (89 not out) consolidated the innings and then launched a counter-attack to throw the Sri Lankan bowling into disarray.
The partnership in 117 balls also eclipsed Pakistan’s previous best for the sixth wicket of 144, also against Sri Lanka in 1983, by Imran Khan and Shahid Mahboob.
The stand ended when Alam was caught at third man by Ashan Priyanjan off Lasith Malinga with Pakistan needing 22 off three overs but Maqsood, who bettered his previous best ODI score of 73, and Afridi ensured there were no further hiccups.
Maqsood survived two run out chances and wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara also missed a stumping chance against him off Rangana Herath’s left-arm spin.
Earlier, Sri Lanka themselves were reeling at 75 for four when Mathews (89) joined Mahela Jayawardene (63) at the crease and the duo curbed their attacking instincts and milked the Pakistan bowling to add 116 for the fifth wicket and prop up the innings.
Mathews, who hit nine fours and two sixes during his 85-ball knock, missed out on his maiden century when he was bowled by Wahab Riaz, who took three for 50, while looking for quick runs towards the end of the innings.