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Hafeez century powers Pakistan to 326-5

December 22, 2013

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Mohammad Hafeez hit his second century of the series and opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad made 81 as Pakistan scored 326-5 against Sri Lanka in the third one-day international on Sunday.

Hafeez, who scored a century at the same venue in the series opener, made Sri Lanka pay heavily for dropping him on 26. He went on to a career-best unbeaten 140 off 136 balls with 11 fours and three sixes.

Shehzad shared a 160-run second wicket stand off 167 balls with Hafeez before he was run out in the 31st over after hitting six fours and two sixes.

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq scored a brisk 40 off 26 balls as Sri Lanka conceded 105 in the last 10 overs through some wayward bowling after captain Angelo Mathews won the toss and chose to field.

Seamer Nuwan Kulasekara got the early breakthrough when he hit left-handed opening batsman Sharjeel Khan’s offstump in the third over.

Hafeez carefully built up the innings with Shehzad before Lasith Malinga dropped Hafeez at long on off legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna.

Sri Lanka hit back briefly in the second batting powerplay when Shehzad was smartly run out by Malinga off his followthrough but Misbah played a little cameo by adding 75 runs off 51 balls for the third wicket stand.

Hafeez, who consumed 69 balls to complete his half century, raised the scoring tempo and completed his eighth ODI century off 119 balls when he hit Malinga through cover for two runs and then hit boundaries off the fast bowler’s next three deliveries.

Misbah holed out in the deep off Thisara Perera (2-58) and Shahid Afridi (2) was clean bowled by Malinga before Umar Akmal (23 not out) hit two sixes and a four to set up a strong total for Sri Lanka.

Fast bowler Umar Gul recovered from knee surgery and returned to international cricket after nine months after last playing against South Africa in March.

Gul joined the Pakistan team on Saturday after proving his fitness and form to the selectors in a domestic four-day first class match by taking 11 wickets.

Sri Lanka named the same side that successfully chased down 285 on Friday to level the series 1-1.

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