Pakistan rode on a brilliant century from Babar Azam and fast bowler Usman Shinwari’s five wickets to beat Sri Lanka by 67 runs in the second day-night international on Monday as Karachi staged its first ODI in a decade.
Azam, currently one of the best batsmen in limited-overs cricket, smashed a solid 105-ball 115 to lift Pakistan to 305-7 after the home team won the toss and batted.
Shinwari then knocked off the top-order in figures of 5-51 as the visitors — depleted by the withdrawal of 10 top players who refused to tour over security fears — were bowled out for 238 in 46.5 overs.
It’s a winning return for Pakistan at home with a couple of brilliant individual performances to go along. Few positives for Sri Lanka as well. The teams will be back on Wednesday for the third and final ODI, which will hopefully see more of a contest and more fans. That’s all from us here. It’s a goodbye from Sagar Chawla on behalf of Rishi Roy, Sriram and Shashikant Singh.
Sarfaraz, Pakistan captain: Have to do better during the middle overs. The way we started with the bat, credit to Babar and Haris. Fakhar and Imam provided a good start, although it would’ve been great had they converted. Will try to give opportunities to as many as possible.
Thirimanne, Sri Lanka captain: Shehan and Dasun showed us how to bat in these conditions. Disappointed how we handled these conditions. 28/5 wasn’t good enough. Shehan and Dasun showed us how good this pitch is. They bowled well but I think overall we could’ve got kept them under 300. Bowlers did well in phases. But towards the end, we leaked some runs. Today Shehan took the chance and batted really well. Great opportunity for the youngsters.
The win gives Pakistan a 1-0 lead in the three-match series with the first ODI rained off in Karachi on Friday. The third and final match is also set for the same venue on Wednesday.
Babr Azam Man of The Match
Sri Lanka were down and out at 28-5 before youngsters Shehan Jayasuriya and Dasun Shanaka staged a fightback during their record 177-run stand — an ODI record for this wicket for Sri Lanka.
Jayasuriya missed his maiden hundred by four runs while Shanaka notched his highest ODI score of 68, but both fell in the space of three balls to surrender the fight.
Jayasuriya hit seven boundaries and a six in his 107-ball knock while Shanaka had six fours and two sixes in his 80 balls.
The match marked the first ODI cricket to be played in Karachi since the same two teams played here in January 2009, on the tour when the visitors’ bus was attacked by terrorists in Lahore.
International cricket remained suspended in Pakistan for six years before Zimbabwe became the first team to play here in 2015.
Pakistan also hosted a World XI (three T20s), Sri Lanka (one T20I) and the West Indies (three T20Is) in the last three years.
It’s a defeat for Sri Lanka, but it’s bereft of the ignominy that seemed reserved for them at 28/5. Shehan Jayasuriya and Dasun Shanaka – with the highest sixth-wicket stand against Pakistan in ODIs – not only saved them the blushes, but even revived their chances out of nowhere to keep them within the realms of the miraculous. However, before Sri Lanka could really start believing, both of them departed in a space of three balls. Usman Khan was absolutely sensational on a pitch that hardly had much on offer, crippling the visitors up top and then coming back to seal the deal with the wicket of Jayasuriya. Should be a close call between his five-for and Babar Azam’s hundred for Man of the Match honours. I’d go for Usman personally. Nevertheless, Pakistan have marked Karachi’s return to international cricket after a decade with a handsome win.
Like in the recent series, Pakistan have put in place stringent security arrangements for the Sri Lankan team, with 2,000 security personnel in and around teams’ hotels and stadium.
A crowd of 12,000 came to watch the return of ODI cricket to their city, weathering heat and various security check-posts, using special shuttles to reach the National stadium.