DAMBULLA, July 11: A dominant all-round performance by Mohammad Hafeez steered Pakistan to a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first one-day international here today.
The off-spinner shrugged off concerns about his bowling action to grab four wickets as Pakistan, electing to field after winning the toss, kept Sri Lanka down to 255-8 in 50 overs.
Hafeez then hammered a stroke-filled 103 to lead the tourists past the target in 45.2 overs, giving them the lead in the five-match series.
Ninth-ranked Pakistan need to win the series to stay in contention for a place in the eight-nation Champions Trophy in England in 2017.
Sri Lanka, currently ranked fifth, are assured of taking part in the tournament.
Hafeez, who was reported for a suspect action during the preceding Test series and underwent tests in Chennai last week, took the field only because he is allowed to play till the results are declared.
The 34-year-old seized the opportunity to finish with his best one-day figures of four for 41 and to restrict Sri Lanka in good batting conditions. Hafeez returned with the bat to strike 10 boundaries and four sixes in his 10th one-day century � the last four all coming against Sri Lanka.
Pakistan lost captain Azhar Ali and opening partner Ahmed Shehzad by the 15th over with the score at 65, before Hafeez settled in to fashion a rescue.
Sri Lanka: K Perera c Rizwan b Hafeez 26, T Dilshan b Hafeez 38, Thirimanne c Sarfraz b Anwar 23, Tharanga st Sarfraz b Hafeez 20, Mathews c Azam b Yasir 38, Chandimal not out 65, Perera c Rizwan b Hafeez 1, Siriwardana c Rizwan b Rahat 22, Prasanna c Hafeez b Rahat 0, Malinga not out 4. Extras: (B-4, LB-7, W-6, NB-1) 18. Total: (For eight wkts, 50 overs) 255. Fall of wickets: 1-44, 2-82, 3-111, 4-118, 5-200, 6-204, 7-244, 8-245. Bowling: Irfan 10-0-41-0, Rahat 8-0-44-2, Anwar 7-0-38-1, Hafeez 10-1-41-4, Yasir 10-0-46-1, Malik 5-0-34-0.
Pakistan: Azhar c Chandimal b Mathews 21, Shehzad c Chandimal b Lakmal 29, Hafeez c and b Perera 103, Azam lbw b Dilshan 25, Malik not out 55, Rizwan not out 20. Extras: (LB-1, W-5) 6. Total: (for four wickets in 45.2 overs) 259. Fall of wickets: 1-47, 2-65, 3-123, 4-198. Bowling: Malinga 8-0-56-0, Lakmal 5-1-21-1, T Perera 8-0-32-1, Mathews 5-0-22-1, Prasanna 9-0-72-0, Dilshan 8.2-0-45-1, Siriwardana 2-0-10-0. � AFP