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Babar, Shinwari lead Pakistan to 67-run rout of Sri Lanka
Match Report

Babar, Shinwari lead Pakistan to 67-run rout of Sri Lanka

Babar Azam's imperious ton and Usman Shinwari's devastating spell helped Pakistan achieve a crushing 67-run triumph over Sri Lanka in the second one-day international as Karachi hosted its first ODI since 2009.

The historic occasion found its perfect start when Babar, ranked No. 3 in the ICC rankings for ODI batting, punished the Sri Lankan bowlers to all parts of the ground during his glorious 105-ball 115.

Babar's sublime efforts were well supported by Fakhar Zaman's half-century and late-order firepower to lift Pakistan to an imposing total of 305-7 on a flat surface at the National Stadium.

Shinwari then scythed through the tourists' batting line-up reducing them to 28-5 before an impressive fightback from Shehan Jayasuriya and Dasun Shanaka reignited hopes of a Sri Lankan victory.

To the delight of the sparsely populated National Stadium, Shinwari returned to break the threatening sixth-wicket partnership and clean up the tail as he registered his second five-wicket haul in limited-overs cricket.

The left-arm paceman's supreme record over his favourite opposition reached another level since his career-best 5-34 also came against Sri Lanka in 2017.

The thumping win provides Pakistan with an unassailable lead in the three-match series after the first ODI was washed out due to a torrential downpour on Friday.

Pakistan's journey towards victory was not all rosy as they were hindered by a stubborn stand between Jayasuriya and Shanaka.

The rhetoric leading up to the ODI encounter was dominated by Sri Lanka's depleted squad given the withdrawal of ten top players from the Pakistan tour but the young duo stitched a record partnership of 177 runs that revitalized the side's chase.

Jayasuriya fell short of a maiden international hundred by four runs while Shanaka contributed with his highest score of 68, but the dismissals of the two batsmen in quick succession arrested Sri Lanka's progress.

Another collapse towards the end of the innings meant the visitors were bundled out for 238 without playing their allotted quota of 50 overs.

Jayasuriya was cramped for room to a Shinwari delivery when he tried to guide the ball to third man but only managed to get a faint tickle to skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed behind the stumps.

His batting partner Shanaka was guilty of playing an ill-timed slog towards deep midwicket off the bowling of Shadab Khan three balls later.

Sri Lanka's slide into disarray earlier in the innings was sparked by Shinwari's sharp lines and lengths.

He picked up three wickets in a fiery spell with the new ball while Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim contributed with a wicket each inside 11 overs of the second innings.

Babar's majestic ton

Clear skies greeted local fans on Monday after they were deprived of cricket action in the series opener.

Sarfaraz's decision to bat first immediately paid dividends as Fakhar and Imam-ul-Haq began sprightly for the hosts.

The wickets of the openers by leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga briefly brought respite to Sri Lanka but Babar and Haris Sohail's century partnership drove the impetus away from the away side.

Babar anchored the innings in emphatic fashion as his effortless drives and booming slogs epitomized a batting masterclass for the ages.

The 24-year-old struck eight boundaries and four sixes during his maiden hundred at home, overtaking Virat Kohli as the third-fastest player to accumulate 11 ODI centuries.

Babar's regal knock was a marked display of batting finesse before he finally departed in the 46th over of the innings while trying to up the scoring rate.

One aspect of Babar's dominant show was the high strike rate he maintained throughout his time in the middle, willingly taking risks to stamp his authority in the game.

Babar's marathon innings was followed by Iftikhar Ahmed making the most of his comeback to the national side.

The right-handed batsman's entertaining cameo featured two sixes and two boundaries as he remained unbeaten on 32 off 20 deliveries.