KARACHI, Sept 30, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Stylish batsman Babar Azam thrashed a swashbuckling hundred to steer Pakistan to 305-7 in the second day-night international against Sri Lanka on Monday as Karachi staged its first ODI in ten years.
The 24-year-old proved he is currently one of the best batsmen in limited overs cricket with a 105-ball-115 to lift Pakistan to a big total after the home team won the toss and batted.
Azam, when on 54, became the fifth batsman to complete 1,000 ODI runs in 2019 — behind India’s duo Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, and Australian couple Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja.
He added an innings building 111 for the third wicket with Haris Sohail (40), as Sri Lankan bowlers toiled to break the stand.
It was only through an unfortunate run out that Sohail fell, leaving Azam to anchor the innings. He square cut pacer Lahiru Kumara for a boundary to complete his 11th ODI hundred off 97 balls.
Azam was finally out at deep mid-on off Kumara, cracking eight boundaries and four sixes.
Iftikhar Ahmed batted aggressively for his 20-ball 32 not out — two sixes and as many boundaries — as Pakistan made 89 in the last ten overs.
Openers Fakhar Zaman (54) and Imam-ul-Haq gave Pakistan a solid start of 73 before Sri Lanka’s best bowler, leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, trapped Imam for 31.
Hasaranga also had Fakhar for 65-ball 54 studded with six boundaries and a six. Hasaranga finished with 2-63.
Skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed was also run out for eight while Imad Wasim made 12.
While the first match was rained off in Karachi on Friday, the third and final game will be held in the city on Wednesday.