Mohammad Hafeez smashed a career-best unbeaten 140 for his second century of the series as Pakistan inflicted a 113-run defeat on Sri Lanka in the third one-day international for a 2-1 lead in the series.
“I was happy to bat first ... Hafeez and Ahmed provided the platform, and good finish too,” Misbah said. “The way Gul came and took wickets, it set the tone as we weren’t taking wickets with the new ball. I was happy with the way the spinners performed as well.”
Sri Lanka paid a heavy price for dropping Hafeez on 26 as he added 160 runs with opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad (81) and another brisk 75 with captain Misbah-ul-Haq (40) against some wayward bowling.
Gul jolted Sri Lanka’s run chase with his twin strike in the fourth over when he dismissed Kusal Perera (7) and Dimuth Karunaratne.
Sri Lanka could not recover from those early strikes and although top-scorer Tillakaratne Dilshan (59) hit 10 fours and captain Angelo Mathews made 44, Pakistan continued to strike at regular intervals through its spinners Hafeez (2-35) and Saeed Ajmal (2-37).
Gul finished off the game when he had last man Lasith Malinga clean bowled with more than five overs to spare.
“It was a disappointing performance all round to be honest,” Mathews said. “If you are chasing 320, you need to get a good start and give the middle-order players a chance, that didn’t happen.
“We need to win next game to stay alive in the series so we’ll come out firing.”
Earlier after being sent in to bat, Shehzad shared a 160-run second-wicket stand off 167 balls with Hafeez before he was run out in the 31st over after hitting six fours and two sixes.
Misbah scored a brisk 40 off 26 balls as Sri Lanka conceded 105 in the last 10 overs through some erratic bowling.
Seamer Kulasekara got the early breakthrough when he hit opening batsman Sharjeel Khan’s off-stump in the third over.
Sri Lanka hit back briefly in the second batting powerplay when Shehzad was smartly run out by Malinga off his follow-through but Misbah played a little cameo by adding 75 runs off 51 balls for the third-wicket stand.
Misbah holed out in the deep off Thisara Perera (2-58) and Afridi (2) was clean bowled by Malinga before Umar Akmal (23 not out) hit two sixes and a four to set up a strong total for Sri Lanka.