Babar Azam and Usman Shinwari were at the forefront of Pakistan’s 67-run win over Sri Lanka in the second ODI at Karachi on Monday. Babar struck the 11th ODI ton of his career and Shinwari picked up a five-wicket haul as the hosts stormed into a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Babar’s 105-ball 115 helped the Men in Green rack up a commanding 305-7 in their 50 overs before Sri Lanka were bowled out for 238 runs in reply at the National Stadium in Karachi. Babar’s superb knock was backed up by an explosive cameo from Iftikhar Ahmed who struck an unbeaten 32 off just 20 deliveries to help Pakistan breach the 300-run mark.
Shehan Jayasuriya registered a valiant 96 in response for Sri Lanka but it wasn’t enough to avert a big loss for the visitors with Shinwari claiming 5-51 for the hosts.
The two teams will meet at Karachi again on Wednesday in the final ODI before they move on to Lahore for the T20I leg.
Babar Azam notched up his 11th One Day International century during Pakistan’s 67-run win over Sri Lanka on Monday in Karachi.
The batsman’s knock during the second ODI gave his team to a 1-0 lead in the three-match series against the visitors.
After the first ODI in Karachi was rained off on Friday, the second ODI was the first at the same venue for 10 years.
Pakistan hit 305-7 in their 50 overs with Azam’s brilliant 105-ball 115 leading the way and Fakhar Zaman scoring 54.
Sri Lanka were bundled out for 238 in 46.5 overs with Usman Shinwari taking 5-51 despite a defiant 177-run stand for the sixth wicket between Shehan Jayasuriya (96) and Dasun Shanaka (68).
As if a 10-year long absence of One Day International cricket wasn’t long enough, heavy showers have forced the city of Karachi to wait another few days.
The first ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was washed out on Friday at the National Stadium. And while the second ODI at the same venue had to be postponed from Sunday to Monday, it is set to finally get underway.
The forecasts for Monday look encouraging with no rain on the horizon and the attention can now turn to the action on the pitch.
SENIOR PLAYERS MUST STEP UP
With several senior members of the squad opting out of the tour due to security concerns, Sri Lanka arrived in Karachi with a host of inexperienced players.
The likes of Dimuth Karunaratne, Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews all decided against the tour, leaving The Lions considerably weakened.
Avishka Fernando and skipper Lahiru Thirimanne in particular will have to step up with the batting order looking especially weak. The fact that the visitors have lost each of the last six completed games against Pakistan makes the task at hand even more daunting.
However, the washout and subsequent postponement of the second ODI may have done the Sri Lankan camp some good. The youngsters have been afforded a little more time to find their bearings and get acquainted with the rest of the squad.
It’s an opportunity for the likes of Sadeera Samarawickrama, Minod Bhanuka and Wanindu Hasaranga, among others, to establish themselves.
MISBAH CAN’T MISS OUT
The anticipation around this fixture couldn’t be greater and Misbah-ul-Haq has done little to manage expectations. Nothing but victory will do for the new Pakistan head coach and chief selector – the first person to hold both roles.
While the hosts will have all their stars available for the match, including a stellar top three of Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam, they face a depleted Sri Lankan side. As such, the only expectation is victory.
Given that this is Misbah’s first match in charge, everything from the team selection to strategy will be scrutinised. It’s intriguing to see how the former Pakistan captain approaches the clash. Most importantly, a win is key to marking the beginning of a new era.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Sarfaraz Ahmed (C & WK) Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Hasnain.
Sri Lanka: Avishka Fernando, Sadeera Samarawickrama (wk), Oshada Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne (C), Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Pradeep, Lakshan Sandakan.