Mohammad Hafeez returned to his best form with a sparkling century to guide Pakistan to 322 for five in the first day-night international against Sri Lanka in Sharjah on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old right-hander smashed 122 off 129 balls and was ably supported by Sohaib Maqsood (73) and debutant opener Sharjeel Khan (61) as Pakistan, which won the toss, capitalised on a mirror-like flat Sharjah stadium pitch.

Hafeez, whose place was in danger over poor form after only 147 runs in the last eight one-dayers, hit seven boundaries and four sixes in his seventh one-day hundred.

He hoisted paceman Suranga Lakmal over long-on for a six to reach the three-figure mark against some hapless Sri Lankan bowling. Hafeez added 140 for the third wicket with Maqsood and 83 for the second wicket with Sharjeel to give Pakistan a good platform.

Shahid Afridi, promoted to fifth in the batting order, played a fiery 12-ball knock of 34 studded with three sixes and two boundaries as Pakistan mustered 103 in the last 10 overs.

Hafeez and Sharjeel raised the scoring rate, with the opener hitting two sixes and a four off paceman Thisara Perera in the 13th over. Sharjeel then hit spinner Sachitra Senanayake for a boundary towards long-off to bring up his half-century off 46 balls. Dropped on 56 by Thisara off Seekkuge Prasanna, Sharjeel failed to benefit from the lapse, holing out off the same bowler five runs later. — AFP

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