Pakistan edge home
Sohaib Maqsood hit an unbeaten 89 to help Pakistan to a four-wicket victory over Sri Lanka with one ball to spare in the first one-day international in Hambantota on Saturday.
The number seven batsman struck nine fours in his 73-ball innings and Fawad Alam made 62 as Pakistan successfully chased down Sri Lanka's 275-7 total after the match had been reduced to 45 overs per side due to rain.
Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews hit half centuries of their own in a losing cause as Pakistan took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, with the second ODI taking place in Hambantota on Tuesday.
Pakistan put the hosts into bat after winning the toss and were soon celebrating the dismissal of Tillakaratne Dilshan, who was pinned lbw by Mohammad Irfan having made just six runs.
Upul Tharanga (18) and Kumar Sangakkara (25) took the Sri Lanka score past 50 before Tharanga edged behind off Wahab Riaz's bowling and Sangakkara guided a Mohammad Hafeez delivery to point five balls later.
Dinesh Chandimal (six) then mis-hooked an Irfan delivery to leave Sri Lanka 75-4 before Jayawardene and skipper Mathews set about repairing the hosts' stuttering innings.
They compiled 116 runs in 20.1 overs for the fifth wicket, with both batsmen dispatching the Pakistan bowlers to the ropes at regular intervals as they ensured Sri Lanka posted a competitive total after their ordinary start.
The pair had advanced Sri Lanka to 191 when Jayawardene was run out by wicketkeeper Umar Akmal while attempting a single.
Mathews was bowled trying to hit Riaz (3-50) across the line after Thisara Perera had fallen in the same manner but number eight batsman Ashan Priyanjan picked up where his captain left off, clubbing eight fours in a remarkable 15-ball knock of 39, as Sri Lanka set Pakistan 276 to win.
Despite opener Ahmed Shehzad's solid 49 from 61 balls, Pakistan found runs hard to come by early on and Hafeez and Younis Khan fell to Mathews, while Perera accounted for Shehzad and Akmal.
The match was in the balance at the halfway stage as Pakistan limped to 106-5. Misbah-ul-Haq's dismissal, caught behind off Rangana Herath, united Fawad and Maqsood at the crease and their sixth-wicket stand of 147 in 19.3 overs saw the visitors to victory.
Maqsood clubbed the fifth ball he faced, from Mathews, to the ropes and he was given a reprieve while on 32 as Sangakkara missed a stumping chance.
Maqsood made the let-off count and brought his fifty up by dispatching a Lasith Malinga full-toss to the boundary.
Fawad joined his partner in raising his bat in the 41st over before he edged a Malinga delivery to third man.
Shahid Afridi held his nerve after replacing Fawad in the middle and when he hit Nuwan Kulasekara to the boundary off the penultimate ball of the match, victory was Pakistan's.