Kusal Perera led a strong batting display to give Sri Lanka a comprehensive, but academic, 165-run win over Pakistan in the fifth and final One-Day International in Hambantota on Sunday (July 26).
Kusal struck 116 off 109 balls and Tillakaratne Dilshan, his opening partner, joined the 10,000-run club as Sri Lanka piled up 368 for 4 in 50 overs – their highest total in the format against Pakistan.
Pakistan managed only 203 in reply, but took the series 3-2 to build on their 2-1 success in the preceding Test series, clinching a double in Sri Lanka for the first time since 2006.
Pakistan were sailing at 116 for 2 in the 20th over following an opening partnership of 51 between Azhar Ali and Ahmed Shehzad. However, they imploded thereafter, and the last eight wickets fell for just 87 runs.
Mohammad Hafeez (37) and Azhar (35) were the principal contributors as Pakistan faltered badly under lights despite it being good conditions to bat on.
Sachithra Senanayake, the offspinner, claimed 3 for 39 in his first appearance in the series, while Thisara Perera, the seamer, chipped in with two wickets.
Kusal reached his century after a 164-run stand for the first wicket with Dilshan, who became only the 11th batsman and the fourth Sri Lankan to compile 10,000 runs in the format.
Angelo Mathews, the captain, then hammered an unbeaten 70 and Milinda Siriwardana clubbed a 26-ball unbeaten 52 as Sri Lanka plundered 136 runs in the last 11 overs to record their highest total against Pakistan – 349 for 9 in Singapore in 1996 was the previous best.
Perera, whose only other one-day ton came against Bangladesh last year, smashed nine boundaries and four sixes before he was run out in the 34th over.
It was Dilshan’s 319th match, and he reached the 10,000-run landmark when he took a single off Shoaib Malik to move to 55, before he was run out for 62. He now has 10,007 runs, joining compatriots Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene in a coveted list headed by Sachin Tendulkar, who made 18,426 ODI runs.
Mathews and Siriwardana added a brisk 114 off just 55 deliveries to complete Sri Lanka’s best batting display of the series. Mathews hit eight fours and two sixes, while Siriwardana, the allrounder, smacked four fours and three sixes.
The hosts made three changes from the last match, dropping Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep and Sachith Pathirana. They were replaced by Senanayake, Thisara Perera and Lahiru Gamage, the paceman, respectively. Pakistan retained the same team.
Pakistan will round off their six-week tour with two T20Is in Colombo on July 30 and August 1.