Pakistan weathered a stunning comeback by Sri Lanka to pull off a thrilling 11-run victory in the first one-day international at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday night.
Sri Lanka nearly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat after the eighth wicket pair of Seekkuge Prasanna and Sachithra Senanayake featured in an enterprising stand of 87 - a record for Pakistan-Sri Lanka one-day internationals.
Senanayake slammed seven boundaries and a six in his 24-ball 42 before falling in the 49th over.
Prasanna smashed three sixes and four boundaries in his 25-ball 42 to bring Sri Lanka to the brink before being last man out.
Sri Lanka needed 27 off the last two overs but both the batsmen were out in quick succession to hand Pakistan a victory.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq said his bowlers needed to improve on this performance.
“It was a hard fought win. We need to improve on the bowling and fielding, too many lapses,” said Misbah.
Pakistan’s innings was built around a brilliant 122 from Mohammad Hafeez which saw them post an impressive total of 322-5 in their 50 overs but were made to work hard for their win, finally bowling Sri Lanka out in 49.4 overs.
Besides Hafeez’s 122, Sohaib Maqsood (73) and debutant opener Sharjeel Khan (61) were the main contributors on a flat pitch.
Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews was full of praise of his team’s battling display.
“We witnessed a great match, especially the stand between Seekkuge and Senanayake, very pleasing to see how they fought,” said Mathews.
Chasing an imposing target of 323, Sri Lanka appeared to be on track at 214-4 in the 40th over.
But the run out of Chandimal triggered a collapse which saw them lose three wickets for seven runs within the space of two overs to slump to 221-7.
After Kusal Perera had led the way with a fluent 64 off 68 balls with five boundaries and a six, Chandimal stepped up the ante by clubbing three sixes and two boundaries in his knock of 46.
Sri Lanka appeared down and out as Mathews (31) and Thisara followed in quick succession.
This was before the magnificent rearguard action by Sri Lanka's tailenders.
Sri Lanka got off to a solid start with Tillakaratne Dilshan (30) and Kusal Perera (64) batting quite comfortably against the spin-cum pace Pakistan attack.
Dilshan pulled a short Junaid Khan delivery straight to deep square-leg before Kumar Sangakkara (23) and Perera added 47 for the second wicket.
Perera, who hit five boundaries and a six off 68 balls, also holed out off Hafeez before leg-spinner Shahid Afridi then struck twice, dismissing Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne (10) in quick succession.
Dinesh Chandimal hit a 50-ball 46 while Mathews made 31 off 32 balls during a resolute 73-run stand for the fifth wicket before the tail wagged.
Junaid Khan who bowled the last over claimed three for 44 while Afridi snared two for 30.
Earlier, Hafeez smashed 122 off 129 balls in a power-packed Pakistan batting performance after they won the toss.
Hafeez, whose place was in danger over poor form after only 147 runs in the last eight one-dayers, hit seven boundaries and four sixes in his seventh one-day hundred.
He hoisted paceman Suranga Lakmal over long-on for a six to reach the three-figure mark.
Hafeez added 140 for the third wicket with Maqsood and 83 for the second wicket with Sharjeel to give Pakistan a good platform.
Maqsood was run out after hitting four sixes and two boundaries during an entertaining 68-ball knock.
Shahid Afridi, promoted to fifth in the batting order, produced a fiery 12-ball knock of 34 studded with three sixes and two boundaries as Pakistan mustered 103 in the last ten overs.
Hafeez and Sharjeel raised the scoring rate, with the opener hitting two sixes and a four off paceman Thisara Perera in the 13th over and then hit spinner Sachitra Senanayake for a boundary towards long-off to bring up his half-century off 46 balls.
Dropped on 56 by Thisara off Seekkuge Prasanna, Sharjeel failed to benfit from the lapse, holing out off the same bowler five runs later.
Lakmal finished with the best bowling figures of 2-73.
The second match will be played in Dubai on Friday followed by the third in Sharjah on Sunday and the last two in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday and Friday.
SRI LANKA INNINGS
Prasanna holes out to Sharjeel at midoff as Sri Lanka are all out for 311 in 49.4 overs falling short by 11 runs.
Seekkuge Prasanna c Sharjeel Khan b Junaid Khan 42 (25b 4x4 3x6)
Malinga is run out as he attempted to turn around for a second to give Prasanna the strike. SL 310-9 in 49.1 overs.
Lasith Malinga run out 0 (0b 0x4 0x6)
Sri Lanka need 14 from six balls to be bowled by Junaid Khan.
Senanayake hammers Tanvir out of the stadium but slices to substitute Anwar Ali who catches in the second attempt. SL 308-0 in 48.5 overs.
Sachithra Senanayake c sub (Anwar Ali) b Sohail Tanvir 42 (24b 7x4 1x6)
Prasanna hammers a six and boundary off consecutive balls from Bhatti to bring Sri Lanka closer to the target. SL 296-7 in 48 overs need 27 from 12 balls.
Tanvir goes for 14 with Prasanna cracking consecutive boundaries. SL 281-7 in 47 overs need 42 from 18 balls.
The 50-run partnership between Prasanna and Senanayake comes in just 29 balls.
Prasanna clobbers Ajmal for a six over midwicket as Sri Lanka continue to keep on fighting. SL 267-7 in 46 overs.
Sri Lanka need 63 off 30 balls with three wickets in hand.
Prasanna gets into the act clubbing a six over square leg and a boundary through point. SL 260-7 in 45 overs.
Sri Lanka are not giving up without a fight as Senanayake slams three consecutive boundaries off Junaid. SL 214-7 in 43 overs.
Sri Lanka are crumbling as Thisara goes after having hit a boundary off Bhatti. SL 221-7 in 41.2 overs.
Thisara Perera c Misbah-ul-Haq b Bilawal Bhatti 6 (6b 1x4 0x6)
Sri Lanka's hopes are fading as Mathews departs failing to clear Tanvir at mid-off. SL 216-6 in 40.4 overs.
Angelo Mathews c Sohail Tanvir b Junaid Khan 31 (32b 2x4 1x6)
Mathews hits Ajmal for a six but the bowler strikes with a direct hit to run out Chandimal. SL 214-5 in 40 overs.
Dinesh Chandimal run out 46 (50b 2x4 3x6)
Sri Lanka need 146 off the last 15 overs as the Batting Powerplay is taken.
Mathews glances Bhatti to fine leg for his first boundary while Chandimal slams his third six as he attempts to put Sri Lanka's run-chase on track. SL 177-4 in 35 overs.
Chandimal hits his second six lofting Afridi over long-on. SL 161-4 in 34 overs.
Afridi strikes as Maqsood takes a brilliant catch which was flying to the boundary to dismiss Thirimanne. SL 141-4 in 29.4 overs.
Lahiru Thirimanne c Sohaib Maqsood b Shahid Afridi 10 (16b 1x4 0x6)
Thirimanne gets his first boundary steering Bhatti past slip to third man. SL 140-3 in 29 overs.
Afridi strikes getting the big wicket of Sangakkara who nicks behind with Akmal pocketing it after a bit of a juggle. SL 127-3 in 25.2 overs.
Kumar Sangakkara c Umar Akmal b Shahid Afridi 23 (33b 0x4 0x6)
Chandimal skips down the track and hoists Hafeez for a towering six in his final over. SL 127-2 in 25 overs.
Hafeez strikes with a peach of delivery to trap Kusal leg before with Sri Lanka being unsuccessful with the decision review. SL 113-2 in 22.4 overs.
Kusal Perera lbw b Mohammad Hafeez 64 (68b 5x4 1x6)
Kusal gets the first boundary after six overs steering the second delivery from Afridi over short third man. SL 111-1 in 22 overs.
Sri Lanka are doing it in singles to keep the scoreboard ticking with Ajmal and Hafeez keeping it tight in the last six overs. SL 101-1 in 21 overs.
Kusal completes a half century off 43 balls. It has contained four boundaries and a six. SL 86-1 in 16 overs.
Kusal is on song swinging Junaid to the square leg and long on for a couple of boundaries. SL 81-1 in 15 overs.
Junaid gets the breakthrough as Dilshan pulls him straight to Hafeez on the midwicket fence. SL 66-1 in 12.5 overs.
TM Dilshan c Mohammad Hafeez b Junaid Khan 30 (43b 2x4 0x6)
Kusal hits the first six of the innings thumping Junaid's second delivery over midwicket. SL 62-0 in 11 overs.
The Sri Lankan opening pair are going about the run-chase slowly but steadily being 52 without loss at the end of the Powerplay overs.
Kusal gets another boundary this time off Hafeez sweeping to square leg. SL 48-0 in 9 overs.
Kusal gets his first boundary flicking Tanvir to square leg. SL 41-0 in 8 overs.
Dilshan cracks Tanvir past point for a boundary. SL 27-0 in 6 overs.
Dilshan hits the first boundary of the innings sweeping Hafeez to backward square leg. SL 21-0 in 5 overs.
Hafeez opens the attack as Kusal takes strike as Sri Lanka begin their run chase.
A magnficent century by Mohammad Hafeez (122) lifted Pakistan to 322-5 after opting to bat first.
Pakistan's T20 silenced his critics by pacing his innings beautifully stroking seven boundaries and four sixes before falling in the last over.
Hafeez shared in two innings-building partnerships of 83 for the second wicket with debutant Sharjeel Khan (61) and 140 for the third wicket with Sohaib Maqsood (73).
Afridi blasted three sixes and two boundaries in a 12-ball cameo of 34 with skipper Misbah sending out the big hitters.
Sharjeel sparkled with a run-a-ball 61 which contained six boundaries and three sixes on his debut.
There were a total of 14 sixes and 19 boundaries in Pakistan's innings with Lakmal going for 73 despite taking two wickets.
Malinga had figures of 10-1-59-0 while Senanayake bowled somewhat economically having figures of 9-1-46-0.
Hafeez hits a boundary off Malinga and then smashes a full toss off Lakmal for a six before falling. Pak 320-5 in 49.4 overs.
Mohammad Hafeez c Chandimal b Lakmal 122 (129b 7x4 4x6)
Afridi slams Thisara for a boundary and another massive six over extra cover but finds his stumps castled attempting a paddle sweep. Pak 301-4 in 47.4 overs.
Shahid Afridi b Thisra Perera 34 (12b 2x4 3x6)
Afridi gets going clobbering a couple of sixes on either side of the wicket off Lakmal who goes for 18. Pak 285-3 in 46 overs.
Afridi gets his first boundary caressing Malinga past cover. Pak 267-3 in 45 overs.
The partnership between Hafeez and Maqsood yielded 140 runs in 21.4 overs.
Maqsood sends Senanayake soaring over long-on for another six but is run out attempting a second run. Pak 258-3 in 44 overs.
Sohaib Maqsood run out 73 (68b 2x4 4x6)
Hafeez reaches his seventh ODI century in style by slamming Lakmal for a six. Pak 248-2 in 43 overs.
Maqsood slams his third six and boundary to extra cover off Senanayake in successive balls. Pak 240-2 in 42 overs.
Hafeez swings a full toss from Lakmal to the fence to move into the 90s.
Maqsood completes his third ODI half century. Pak 226-2 in 41 overs.
The 100-run partnership betweem Hafeez and Maqsood comes off 105 balls.
Hafeez cracks consecutive boundaries off Thisara. Pak 219-2 in 40 overs.
Maqsood is turning it on clubbing Prasanna for another towering six. Pak 203-2 in 38 overs.
Pakistan manage 25 in the Batting Powerplay with Malinga bowling some tight overs. Pak 187-2 in 37 overs.
Malinga bowls another excellent over firing in yorkers. Pak 182-2 in 35 overs.
Hafeez whacks a long hop from Senanayake for a six over midwicket. Pak 177-2 in 34 overs.
Malinga bowls a good over in the first over of Batting Powerplay giving away just four runs. Pak 169-2 in 33 overs.
Batting Powerplay has been taken with Pakistan 165-2 after 32 overs.
Maqsood steps up the ante hoisting Prasanna for a towering six over long-on. Pak 157-2 in 30 overs.
After a few tight overs, Maqsood opens out by punching Mathews through the covers for a boundary. Pak 149-2 in 29 overs.
Hafeez completes his 19th ODI half century off 68 balls having hit three boundaries and a six. Pak 135-2 in 26 overs.
Malinga returns to the attacks and concedes just three runs as Pakistan reach 134-2 at the halfway stage of te innings.
Pakistan reach 126 for the loss of 2 wickets after 23 overs.
Seekkuge Prasanna breaks 83-run partnership between Hafeez and Sharjeel Khan. Sohaib Maqsood comes in.
Sharjeel Khan c Senanayake b Prasanna 61 (61b 6x4 3x6)
Tillakaratne Dilshan proved costly in his first over, giving away 13 runs.
Pakistan have reached 100 for the loss of one wicket in the 19th over. Both Hafeez and Sharjeel look steady against the Sri Lankan attack.
Sharjeel Khangoing strong, reaches 50.
Sharjeel Khan takes on Perera, hits him 17 runs in the 13th over.
Senanayake bowls another tight over as Pakistan end the manadatory Powerplay on 47-1.
Hafeez opens his account with consecutive boundaries off Lakmal through cover and fine leg. Pak 45-1 in 9 overs.
Senanayake comes into the attacks and bowls a maiden to Sharjeel. Pak 35-1 in 8 overs.
Lakmal draws first blood trapping Shehzad leg before with Pakistan being unsuccessful with the decision review. Pak 35-1 in 6.2 overs.
Ahmed Shehzad lbw b Lakmal 11 (22b 1x4 0x6)
Sharjeel is on fire pulling Lakmal to the midwicket fence. Pak 32-0 in 5 overs.
Malinga goes for 16 in his second over with southpaw Sharjeel launching Sri Lanka's premier bowler for a towering six over midwicket followed by a couple of boundaries. Pak 25-0 in 4 overs.
Shehzad hits the first boundary of the match driving Lakmal past mid-on. Pak 9-0 in 3 overs.
Malinga begins with a maiden to Shehzad. Pak 2-0 in 2 overs.
Lakmal gets proceedings underway bowling to debutant Sharjeel.
Pakistan have won the toss and opted to bat first in the opening one-day international against Sri Lanka at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
Sharjeel Khan is making his ODI debut while Suranga Lakmal is in for Nuwan Kulasekara.
The preceding Twenty20 series between the sides finished all square at 1-1.
Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Bilawal Bhatti, Sohail Tanvir, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan
Sri Lanka: TM Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasinga Malinga, Seekkuge Prasanna, Suranga Lakmal