June 4, 2012 / 3:22 AM / 8 years ago

Afridi helps Pakistan draw series with Sri Lanka

HAMBANTOTA (Reuters) - Pakistan’s flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi celebrated his 50th appearance in Twenty20 internationals with a half century to lead his side to a 23-run victory over Sri Lanka on Sunday.

Pakistan's Shahid Afridi appeals for an unsuccessful LBW wicket of Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan during their final Twenty-20 match in Hambantota about 240km (149 miles) south of Colombo June 3, 2012. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

Afridi scored 52 off 33 balls to rescue Pakistan and allow them to post a total of 122 before taking two wickets for 17 runs as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 99.

The series ended 1-1.

Afridi struck five fours and a six after his side had been reduced to 41 for four halfway through their overs.

Pakistan won the toss but their top order fumbled against Sri Lanka’s new ball attack led by Nuwan Kulasekara.

Afridi and Shoaib Malik (27) stabilised the batting with a 68-run partnership that gave the Pakistan bowlers something to bowl at.

Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular intervals and although five batsmen reached double figures none of them were able to stay around long enough.

Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez used his bowlers intelligently with Mohammad Sami and Yasir Arafat sharing six wickets between them.

Sri Lanka rested captain Mahela Jayawardene and fast bowler Lasith Malinga for this match while Pakistan left out experienced seamer Umar Gul.

The teams now move to Pallakele in Kandy for the first of five one-day internationals starting on June 7.

Reporting by Martyn Herman

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