Mohammad Hafeez bagged his third century of the series as Pakistan took an unassailable 3-1 lead in the 5-match one-day series against Sri Lanka by winning the fourth ODI by eight wickets in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
The dashing right-hander scored an unbeaten 113 off just 115 balls with 12 boundaries and two sixes as Pakistan wrapped up the match with 53 balls to spare and eight wickets in hand. Hafeez found enough support from opener Ahmed Shehzad (44) and two-down batsman Sohaib Maqsood (46 not out) to script a facile victory and a series win, with the fifth and final match remaining to be played in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Afp adds: Earlier, wily spinner Saeed Ajmal took four wickets while paceman Umar Gul grabbed three to help restrict Sri Lanka to a modest total of 225.
Gul removed openers Kusal Perera (eight), Tillakaratne Dilshan (eight) and Dinesh Chandimal (five) to reduce Sri Lanka, who won the toss and opted to bat, to 36-3 on a flat Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch before Ajmal (4-39) 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.
Ajmal then bowled Nuwan Kulasekara (one), trapped a dangerous looking Mathews and Sachitra Senanayake (nought) to stand on the brink of a hat-trick -- Suranga Lakmal denied him the feat.
Kithuruwan Vithage cipped in with a useful 27 before he became one of Junaid's two wickets.
SCORES IN BRIEF:
SRI LANKA: 225 all out in 48.5 overs (Priyanjan 74, Sangakkara 51, Mathews 38; Ajmal 4-39, Gul 3-37)
PAKISTAN: 226 for 2 in 41.1 overs (Hafeez 113 not out, Maqsood 46 not out, Shehzad 44; Lakmal 1-49)
Result: Pakistan won by 8 wickets.
Man-of-the-match: Mohammad Hafeez.