A century by opening batsman Imam ul Haq has put Pakistan in a commanding position in the third ODI against Sri Lanka.
Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat, setting a target of 318 for the home team. Imam lead all scorers with 101, with Babar Azam chipping in with 69 and Mohammad Hafeez with 52.
Pakistan beat South Africa in the first ODI at St George’s Park as Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez set up a five-wicket win, but South Africa bounced back in the next ODI in Durban with Hendrick ‘Rassie’ van der Dussen and Andile Phehlukwayo securing a series-levelling win at Kingsmead.
Seeing as how Centurion is known as a batting paradise, a high scoring match can be expected between the two sides. There have been 17 totals of 300-plus scored on the ground in ODIs.
South Africa and Pakistan have clashed five times at Centurion. The Proteas have won three matches, while Pakistan have won the other two.
The Proteas have made three changes to the squad: Dale Steyn and Quinton de Kock are back, replacing Duanne Olivier and Heinrich Klaasen, while Dane Paterson has been replaced by in-form left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks who will be making his debut.
For Pakistan Imad Wasim and Mohammad Amir are back in the playing XI.
Pakistan’s build-up to the game had been marred by skipper Sarfraz Ahmed making alleged racist remarks towards South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo in Tuesday’s match, in which Phehlukwayo took four wickets and hit an unbeaten 69. Sarfraz issued a general apology on Twitter and insisted his remarks were not directed to anyone in particular.
The third ODI also means a Steyn vs Hafeez contest. In 28 meetings between the two, Hafeez has scored 158 runs against Steyn while being dismissed a staggering 15 times.
Imam-ul-Haq who is oftenly under the radar shut the mouth of his critics with a brilliant knock and a unique celebration. Imam is the nephew of the chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq that’s whythe media and the pundits bluntly get after his after every single failure
Here’s how twitterati reacts on it:
Imam giving a shut up call to his critics.
I loved Imam’s celebration today. His one day stats are right up there! Just because he is related to inzi, it shouldn’t make him a scapegoat for collective failures. #SAvPAK pic.twitter.com/yewvsscGSK
— Muhammad Asad. (@GoStudyAsad) January 25, 2019
5 Hundreds. Century in South Africa. 1000 plus runs in 19 matches at an average of 67. Imam ul Haq is an embarrassment to the word parchi. Well Played Dude!
— SIR .. (@SirJohnRoe) January 25, 2019
— zainab abbas (@ZAbbasOfficial) January 25, 2019
1000 runs in ODIs for Imam-ul-Haq. He is second fastest to the milestone doing it in just 19 innings, only one behind Fakhar Zaman (18). #RSAvPak
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) January 25, 2019
Babar is without doubt our most talented batsman but Imam has been our best batsman in ODIs since he made his debut. Supremely consistent. I hope we don’t confuse b/w formats again, he is terrific for ODIs, hasn’t yet found form in Tests & isn’t great for T20s.
— Rehan Ulhaq (@Rehan_ulhaq) January 25, 2019
— Vikrant Gupta (@vikrantgupta73) January 25, 2019
Imam-ul-haq after first innings: This is an answer to all the haters, critiques, media, the bully in 5th grade who broke my glasses, my first crush who never even looked at me, fuck you all.
— Ranting Pakistani (@RantsPakistani) January 25, 2019
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) January 25, 2019
Fastest to 1,000 runs in ODIs (by innings) #Cricket
18 – FZaman
19 – Imam
21 – Babar
21 – Viv
21 – KevinP
21 – Quinton
— Daniel Alexander (@daniel86cricket) January 25, 2019