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Bowler Saeed Ajmal of Pakistan jubilates after dismissing Angelo Mathews of Sri Lanka during the fourth One Day International cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. -AFP Photo
Bowler Saeed Ajmal of Pakistan jubilates after dismissing Angelo Mathews of Sri Lanka during the fourth One Day International cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. -AFP Photo

ABU DHABI: Mohammad Hafeez notched his third hundred of the series while off-spinner Saeed Ajmal grabbed four wickets to help Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the fourth one-day international on Wednesday.

Hafeez finished with 113 not out for his ninth one-day hundred as Pakistan knocked off their modest 226-run target in the 42nd over to take an unbeatable 3-1 lead ahead of Friday's fifth and final match.

Pakistan had restricted Sri Lanka to 225 all out in 48.5 overs with Ajmal (4-39) and paceman Umar Gul (3-37) sharing the spoils.

Hafeez, who hit hundreds in Pakistan's two wins in the first and third matches in Sharjah, pushed Tillakaratne Dilshan for his 12th boundary to complete three figures, raising his bat and blowing a kiss to his wife in the stands.

Hafeez became the sixth batsman in all one-day cricket to hit three tons in one bilateral series.

In all Hafeez hit two sixes and 12 boundaries off 119 balls, while Sohaib Maqsood finished with a 56-ball 46 not out with a six and four boundaries.

Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad (44) put Pakistan on track during a solid 84-run stand after opener Sharjeel Khan was dismissed for 13.

Shehzad, who hit a career best 124 in Pakistan's two-wicket loss in the second match in Dubai, started off well with three boundaries in Nuwan Kulasekara's third over while Hafeez matched his partner with as many boundaries in Suranga Lakmal's seventh.

The stand set up victory and even after Shehzad's dismissal, caught in the slips off Lakmal, Pakistan wiped off the target with consummate ease.

Shehzad hit five boundaries during his 56-ball knock as Sri Lanka's bowlers were rendered ineffective.

Maqsood and Hafeez shared an unbroken 111-run stand for the third wicket.

This becomes Pakistan's seventh one-day series win in the year, their best-ever in a calendar year, beating the six series win record achieved in 2011.

Earlier, Sri Lanka failed to post a big total after Angelo Mathews opted to bat after winning the toss on a flat Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch.

Gul removed openers Kusal Perera (eight), Tillakaratne Dilshan (eight) and Dinesh Chandimal (five) to reduce Sri Lanka to 36-3 before Ajmal tightened the screws at the end of the innings.

Ashan Priyanjan fought hard during his 93-ball 74, which included ten boundaries, to register the highest score for a one-day debutant for Sri Lanka, beating Chamara Silva's 55 made against Australia in Colombo in 1999.

Priyanjan shared two useful stands of 89 with Kumar Sangakkara (51) for the fourth wicket and then added another 40 with skipper Angelo Mathews (38) to keep Sri Lanka on course for a respectable total.

But Sangakkara's run out, off a brilliant piece of fielding by substitute fielder Anwar Ali at point, derailed Sri Lanka. Sangakkara had looked good duing his 78-ball knock, featuring three boundaries.

Priyanjan had looked solid until he tried an unusual shot off paceman Junaid Khan and was bowled just three balls into the batting power-play.

Ajmal then bowled Nuwan Kulasekara (one), trapped a dangerous looking Mathews and Sachitra Senanayake (nought).

Kithuruwan Vithanage chipped in with a useful 27 before he became one of Junaid's two wickets.

After the conclusion of the one-day series, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will play three Tests, starting in Abu Dhabi on December 31.

Comments (13) Closed

riaz Dec 25, 2013 09:17pm

sri Lanka is guldosed today... good job done!

zem Dec 25, 2013 10:48pm

Congratulation Pakistan for series win,plssss this is our heartiest request to captain Misbah and Management to give chance to Haris sohail,unfortuntly he did not get chance against India when pak were 2-0 up(3 match series).i m sure if he got chance in this Sri Lanka series he could have prove himself.he got chance (selected) b4 sharjeel and Maqsudbut dd not get fair chance to prove his competency.thats called LUCK!!!!!

sami Dec 25, 2013 11:37pm

Good job by the bowlers to contain Srilanka to 225 and getting another win.

Time to bring Shahzad and Sohaib in TEST eleven. Both have the class to be our future stars.

mansoor Dec 26, 2013 01:25am

A convincing win by Pakistan. Hats off to Hafeez and company.

Sohaib Ch Dec 26, 2013 03:23am

Well done! it was great to see Pakistani team playing as a UNIT. Welcome back GUL, everyone pitched in to take the series. I'd still recommend that Mishbah should retire now.

Riaz Dec 26, 2013 04:01am

Sri Lanka has been Gul-dosed. Good performance by the bowlers. The mediocre, the lucky so-called prof had a good show. Many congratulations to pakistan cricket and the nation by winning the series on December 25. The Qaid e azam birthday and good present for the Christian community in Pakistan ~ Merry Christmas !

PakCricketFan Dec 26, 2013 07:09am

Delighted to see Green Shirts winning the current ODI series against Sri Lanka. Well done Pakistan... Gul, Hafeez, Shehzad, Shoeb, and Ajmal all played well. It looks that the team is back on the right track now. It's time for Pakistan to seriously think about preparation for the 2015 World Cup. Also, it is in the best interest of Pakistan Cricket to have the services of present coach Dave Whatmore until the end of that event.

Nasr Dec 26, 2013 07:36am

Looking at the performance of Umar Gul It is confusing to know when he was unfit and what prompted the team management to add him later in the team.

Masoud Dec 26, 2013 11:50am

Heartiest Congratulations to Team Pakistan for bringing glory to Pakistan. Keep it up you are improving. Special mubarakbad to Hafeez for his consequetive 100s

arju Dec 26, 2013 02:18pm

I am closely watching each & every cricket match of Pakistan over the last 17 years. if cannot see it live then i have been watching the highlights. i have one question in my mind " why Pak management give that much opportunity to Sohail Tanvir??"

Rogers Evans Dec 26, 2013 02:35pm

Congratulations, Pakistan Team ! Credit goes to Najam Serhi to awake Hafeez from sleep. Had Sethi not made statement to drop Hafeez from T20 Captaincy, Hafeez would have been sleeping still. Good work, Mr Sethi.

Nasim Khan Dec 26, 2013 05:40pm

@sami: Part of your wish is fulfilled and I support your other wish as well and like to see that wish to be fulfilled as earliest

Najma Dec 27, 2013 10:39am

@Rogers Evans: Give credit where it is due. Sethi knows nothing about cricket or human psychology. He is an opportunist and myopic beyond reason. If the threats work then put everyone on a firing notice to get good performance. It does not work that was Mr. Evans. Just a quick question, are you a trumpeter for Sethi.