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Sri Lanka opener Kusal Perera blasted the second fastest ODI fifty in their series-levelling two-wicket victory against Pakistan in the second ODI at Pallekele.

Perera (68) took 17 balls to reach his fifth ODI fifty and fell after a whirlwind 25-ball knock as Sri Lanka chased down the 288-run victory target with 11 balls to spare to level the five-match series.

South African AB de Villiers holds the record for the fastest ODI fifty, reaching the mark in 16 balls during his blistering 44-ball knock of 149 against West Indies in Johannesburg earlier this year.

Fastest ODI half-centuries (deliveries)
16 - AB de Villiers
17 - S Jayasuriya
17 - K Perera
18 - S O'Donnell
18 - S Afridi
18 - G Maxwell
18 - S Afridi
18 - B McCullum
19 - M Boucher

Perera's compatriot Sanath Jayasuriya had also scored a 17-ball fifty against Pakistan in Singapore in 1996.

Opting to bat first, Pakistan found the going tough against the home side's disciplined bowling and looked in trouble at 96-3 in the 24th over.

Captain Azhar Ali (79) and Shoaib Malik (51) provided stability in the middle before Mohammad Rizwan hit a quickfire 52 to help Pakistan post 287-8.

Sri Lanka's debutant left-arm spinner Sachith Pathirana dismissed Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez to peg back Pakistan before Ali and Malik rebuilt the innings with an 83-run stand.

Rizwan provided the late charge with his 38-ball knock as Pakistan scored 88 runs off the last 10 overs to post a competitive total.

Sri Lanka's chase got off to a flying start with Perera and Tillakaratne Dilshan (47) adding 92 runs before being separated in the ninth over.

The hosts lost three quick wickets to find themselves in trouble at the halfway mark of their innings but Pathirana made 33 on debut and Dinesh Chandimal remained not out on 48 to guide them home.

The teams move to Colombo for the third ODI on Sunday.

Scorecard:

Pakistan 287-8 in 50 overs (Azhar 79, Malinga 2-64)

Sri Lanka 288-8 in 48.1 overs (Perera 68, Rahat 3-73)

Source: Reuters