ABU DHABI: A century on debut by opener Imam-ul-Haq helped Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the third one-day international in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
Paceman Hasan Ali took a career best 5-34 to dismiss Sri Lanka for 208 in 48.2 overs before Imam-ul-Haq scored 100 off 125 balls as Pakistan reached the target with 7.3 overs to spare.
The century by the 21-year-old is only the second by a Pakistani cricketer on ODI debut. Saleem Elahi holds the record for highest score by a Pakistani on ODI debut, scoring 102 not out against Sri Lanka at Gujranwala in 1995.
Pakistan had brought in uncapped Imam-ul-Haq for Ahmed Shehzad, who failed to perform with the bat in the opening two matches of the series.
Pakistan were off to a steady start and reached the 50-run mark without the loss of any wickets in the third ODI at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Openers Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman were putting runs up on the board in a steady fashion and looked comfortable at the crease
During the first innings, energetic seamer Hasan Ali became the quickest player to reach 50 one-day international wickets for Pakistan as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 208.
The 23-year-old took a career-best 5-34 and was ably assisted by leg-spinner Shadab Khan (2-37) as Sri Lanka, who won the toss and batted, lost their last nine wickets for only 106 runs.
Sri Lanka were off to a solid start but faltered against a determined Pakistan bowling attack as they lost wickets in quick succession in the middle of the innings.
Sri Lanka skipper Upul Tharanga (61) and Niroshan Dickwella (18) put on 59 for the first wicket, but from 102-1 in the 26th over their innings was derailed by Pakistani bowlers.
Shadab, man-of-the-match for his 52 not out and 3-47 in the second game on Monday, had Dinesh Chandimal (19) leg-before and Tharanga caught in the deep.
Tharanga, who hit a brilliant 112 not out in the previous match, hit five boundaries during his 80-ball knock.
Hasan, who had given Pakistan the early breakthrough with Dickwella's wicket, removed Chamara Kapugedera (18), Milinda Siriwardana (two) and Jeffrey Vandersay (nought) to complete 50 wickets in his 24th ODI.
The previous record was held by legendary paceman Waqar Younis, who took 27 ODIs to reach the mark.
Hasan's previous best bowling figures were 5-38 against the West Indies in Guyana earlier this year.
Lahiru Thirimanne (28) and Thisara Perera (38) took Sri Lanka past the 200 mark.
Pakistan now have an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series after winning the first match by 83 runs in Dubai and a 32-run victory in Abu Dhabi.
The latest defeat becomes Sri Lanka's 10th in a row. For Pakistan, it was the seventh consecutive win in ODIs and the ninth victory in the last 11 matches.
The fourth and fifth ODIs will be played in Sharjah on October 20 and 23. The two teams will also play three T20 internationals, the first two in Abu Dhabi (October 26 and 27) and the last in Lahore (October 29).