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Pakistan crush Sri Lanka
Butt hits unbeaten century as Pakistan take the lead in limited overs series.
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2009 16:04 GMT

 Salman Butt plays a shot as wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara can only watch [AFP]

Opening batsman Salman Butt hit an unbeaten century and seamer Rao Iftikhar took a career-best 4-42 to give Pakistan an eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first limited-overs international.

Butt made a polished 100 off 117 balls with 13 fours as Pakistan reached 220-2 in 45.5 overs after Sri Lanka was bowled out for 219.

Pakistan lead 1-0 in the three-match series.

Opening stand

Iftikhar was supported by Umar Gul taking 3-30 with Kumar Sangakkara top-scoring with 49 for Sri Lanka.

Butt and Khurram Manzoor, who hit 83 with nine fours in 127 balls, put on an opening stand of 168 despite facing two of the world's best spinners in Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis.

"We made a few plans against them and it worked out well for us," Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik said.

"Hopefully, the plans continue to work for us in the remaining two matches."

The second match will be played on Wednesday in Karachi before Lahore host the final game on Saturday.

Iftikhar and Gul ran through Sri Lanka's batting line-up after Sanath Jayasuriya (42) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (38) had put on an opening stand of 71 off 53 balls.

Gul provided the initial breakthrough by getting rid off Dilshan and Jayasuriya.

Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar wasn't able to impress in his comeback one-day international after 13 months out, finishing with 0-43 off seven overs.

Pakistani bowler celebrates the wicket of Jayawardene who just can't find his form [AFP]
Poor form

Mahela Jayawardene, who won the toss and elected to bat, continued his poor form when Iftikhar had him caught behind for 1.

Sri Lanka's captain has scored four ducks in five previous limited-overs games, including against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

Sangakkara was dismissed in the 35th over in Iftikhar's second spell by Butt's brilliant two-handed diving catch at gully.

Iftikhar had Thilan Thushara out next ball to make it 176-7, and he soon ended the innings by bowling No. 11 Ajantha Mendis.

"We could not capitalise on a good start and the wickets fell at regular intervals," Jayawardene said.

"Bowlers need runs on board, and on this wicket 220 was not enough to defend."

Iftikhar firing

Dilshan, dropped on 17 by Younis Khan, struck seven fours before mistiming a pull shot to be caught in the deep off Gul's fourth delivery.

Jayasuriya also had a chance on 33 when Shahid Afridi dropped a hard head-high catch at extra cover, but two runs later Gul trapped him leg before wicket.

Sangakkara added 54 off 74 balls with Chamara Kapugedera for the fourth wicket, but Sri Lanka's middle order struggled to build partnerships and lost wickets at regular intervals.

Iftikhar's superb second spell in which he claimed three wickets took his figures past his previous best of 4-59 against the West Indies in November at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Source:
Agencies
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