Hasan, Babar lead Pakistan to comfortable victory

Hosts beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets to take 4-0 lead in five-match series

Hasan Ali produced another brilliant spell of fast-bowling and Babar Azam once again showed his class in tough conditions as Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the fourth ODI in Sharjah on Friday to take 4-0 lead in five-match series.

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The day started with visitors’ captain Upul Tharanga winning the toss and deciding to bat first in extremely warm conditions.His decision, however, proved disastrous one as the captain himself was dismissed by debutante Usman Khan Shinwari on his second delivery in the 50-over format.

Niroshan Dickwella and Dinesh Chandimal then added 26 runs for the second wicket partnership.But once Dickwella started to look good, he got out on the bowling of Junaid Khan in the fifth over.

After his departure, Chandimal then joined by Lahiru Thirimanne as the duo once again tried to rebuild the innings.But Chandimal’s run out in the 11th over started collapse of the visitors from which they could never recover, and were eventually bowled out for 173 in the 44th over.

Thiramanne finished the innings with the top score of 62 off 94 with the help of four boundaries, whereas for Pakistan, Hasan was the star of the show, as he claimed three wickets.Chasing 174 to win, hosts lost both openers —last match centurion Imam-ul Haq and Fakhar Zaman early.

All-rounder Mohammad Hafeez joined Babar to steady the ship, but the 37-year-old got out in the 14th over and brought Sri Lanka right back in the contest in tough batting conditions.But 119-run unbeaten fourth-wicket partnership between Babar and veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik ensured comfortable victory for the hosts with more than 10 overs to spare.

Both Babar and Malik finished with 69 unbeaten runs off 101 and 81 balls respectively. Babar struck five boundaries, whereas Malik smashed two fours and three maximums.For Sri Lanka, pacer Gamage, spinners Akila Dhananjaya and Prasanna claimed one wicket each.Final match of the series will be played on the same venue on Monday.

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