Debutant Maheesh Theekshana produced a stunning performance with the ball to inspire Sri Lanka to a series-clinching ODI win over South Africa.

An unconvincing batting display saw Sri Lanka post a slightly disappointing total of 203-9 after the hosts won the toss for the third and final match.

However, that modest target proved well beyond the tourists, who were undone by Theekshana's off-spin in an innings interrupted by rain.

Theekshana took 4-37 as the Proteas were skittled for 125, ensuring Sri Lanka secured a 78-run victory in style.

Charith Asalanka, the top run-scorer in the series, was the sole Sri Lanka player to excel with the bat, scoring 47 off 71 deliveries.

Dhananjaya de Silva (31) did threaten to post a big score yet he failed to build on his encouraging start and Dushmantha Chameera added a quick 29 off 39 balls.

But the success of the South Africa spinners, with captain Keshav Maharaj taking 3-38 and George Linde (2-32) and Tabraiz Shamsi (2-31) also excelling, provided clear encouragement for Theekshana and the Sri Lanka attack.

They wasted no time in making inroads, reducing South Africa to 19-3 inside five overs. Janneman Malan (18) and Heinrich Klaasen (22) steadied the ship with a stand of 36 but Theekshana got Malan caught in the slips and then trapped Klaasen lbw either side of Wiaan Mulder (2) being bowled by Wanindu Hasaranga (2-32).

Linde (18) and Andile Phehlukwayo (17) mounted something of a recovery from 54-6, but it did not last, and it was Theekshana who had the final say when he drew an edge from Maharaj.

Theek tough

The selection of Theekshana proved inspirational and captain Dasun Shanaka heaped praise on the 21-year-old at the post-match presentation.

"Theekshana was our trump card," said the skipper. "He's more of a T20 bowler but I used him wisely in this match. He's a real prospect going forward."

Chameera's all-round impact

Theekshana, however, was not the man of the match. That honour went to Chameera, who along with Klaasen struck the most fours in a low-scoring contest, finding the rope three times.

He followed up his effort with the bat by taking 2-16, with the early dismissals of Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen putting South Africa in a hole they never looked like escaping.

Janneman Malan's 121 and a Tabraiz Shamsi five-for led South Africa to a 67-run win by DLS in a rain-affected second ODI against Sri Lanka, levelling the three-match series in Colombo.

A downpour delayed the start and limited the contest to 47 overs, which became 41 in the second innings after more rain – Sri Lanka's target of 284 trimmed to 265.

But the Proteas were never in trouble. Despite missing injured captain Temba Bavuma and the rested Quinton de Kock, stand-in skipper Keshav Maharaj was quickly rewarded for his decision to bat first.

Opener Malan stuck around for three hours and 17 minutes, during which time he enjoyed stands of 96 for the second wicket with Reeza Hendricks (51) and 86 for the fourth with Heinrich Klaasen (43).

Dushmantha Chameera belatedly got Klaasen and Malan from consecutive deliveries, but by that point there were just 12 balls remaining, with South Africa finishing on 283-6.

Given Avishka Fernando had been the match-winner for Sri Lanka in the series opener, making at least 50 in a third consecutive ODI, it quickly became clear this would not be their day when he went early for eight to a much-improved Kagiso Rabada (2-16).

Charith Asalanka starred alongside Avishka in the previous match and only he truly threatened to make a fight of the chase, scoring 77 off 69 – including three sixes – either side of the rain delay.

Chamika Karunaratne's late flurry (36 off 23, two sixes) was then ended by Maharaj, and Shamsi tidied up the tail for career-best figures of 5-49, leaving Sri Lanka well short, all out for 197.

Patient approach pays off

Sri Lanka's pace bowling attack has been effective in preventing boundaries this year, giving up just 44 per cent of their total runs conceded through fours and sixes ahead of this match – the second-lowest proportion among Test-playing nations in 2021, behind Bangladesh (42 per cent). But this did not slow Malan, who hit only 10 of the 135 balls he faced to the boundary but ran 65 singles, perhaps explaining his struggles with cramp.

Rabada back to his best

A poor showing from the Proteas' premier fast bowler in the first ODI saw him give up 66 runs, tied for the third-most in his career in this format. Yet Rabada was back on song from the outset on Saturday. He took two wickets in a stunning fifth over, conceding only a single run and prompting a further lbw review.

Rabada's contribution was overshadowed by Shamsi's efforts, but the Proteas need their main man to fire, meaning an ankle sprain in the field provides some concern.

South Africa one-day captain Temba Bavuma has been ruled out for the remainder of the Proteas' ODI series in Sri Lanka with a fractured thumb.

The skipper suffered the freak injury during Wednesday's first ODI that, inspired by centurion Avishka Fernando, the hosts won by 14 runs.

Bavuma was inadvertently struck from a fielder's throw-in during the 26th over at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.

Persistent discomfort saw him retire hurt two overs later, with scans later revealing a fracture.

Bavuma will return to South Africa for further treatment, from which his recovery time will be determined.

Keshav Maharaj will deputise as captain for the second ODI of the three-match series on Saturday.

 

Avishka Fernando's third ODI century set Sri Lanka on course for a 14-run win in the opener of their three-match series against South Africa.

The Proteas were always fighting a losing battle in Colombo after allowing Sri Lanka to make 300-9 – their highest total in 50-over cricket in 2021.

Avishka (118) was the star with the bat, putting on 79 in a partnership with Dhananjaya de Silva (44) that was disrupted briefly by a rain delay, with better to come as he was joined in the middle by Charith Asalanka (72).

That stand of 97 for the fourth wicket put Sri Lanka in command, as a bowling attack led by Kagiso Rabada (2-66) struggled to keep them in check.

South Africa were no more than steady in reply and keenly felt the dismissal of Aiden Markram to an outstanding Wanindu Hasaranga catch after 96 runs, including four sixes.

Captain Temba Bavuma had already retired hurt after taking a blow to his hand, and Rassie van der Dussen's departure preceded some superb death bowling to see Sri Lanka comfortably over the line – the Proteas short of their target on 286-6.

Profitable partnership

With the exception of Keshav Maharaj, who gave up 30 runs in 10 overs for his most economical ODI return, South Africa's bowlers were really poor. But Avishka and Asalanka still had to capitalise and did exactly that with a vital partnership that scored at 8.19 an over.

Denied at the death

South Africa required 41 off 25 when Van der Dussen departed, yet they mustered only two more boundaries – both fours from Rabada in the final over when the chase was up. Hasaranga started well and finished strongly, too, slowing Heinrich Klaasen in giving up just three from the 47th over.

Nicholas Pooran has guided West Indies to a series-levelling One Day International victory despite a scare in the run chase against Australia in Bridgetown on Saturday.

Akeal Hosein (30-3) and Alzarri Joseph (39-3) were exceptional in reducing Australia to 45-6 before the tourists rallied to 187.

But the West Indies stumbled in their chase, slumping to 72-5 before Pooran (59* from 75) combined with Jason Holder (52) for a decisive 93-run sixth-wicket stand.

Player of the Match Pooran was crucially dropped by Moises Henriques off Adam Zampa on 26, before making his eighth ODI half-century.

Mitchell Starc, who finished with 26-3 from 10 overs, had dismissed Evin Lewis (1) and Darren Bravo (duck), before trapping Holder LBW but Pooran guided the hosts home.

Earlier, Australia struggled with the bat, with Hosein dismissing Henriques, stand-in captain Alex Carey and Ashton Turner in an excellent spell.

Matthew Wade (36) and Adam Zampa (36) rallied for Australia, before an excellent late cameo from second-gamer Wes Agar (41 from 36).

POLLARD HAILS 'SCRATCHY' POORAN

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard said allowing Australia to reach 187 was disappointing but hailed Pooran's determination after a "scratchy" knock.

"What was good this time around was the fight by the guys, Nicholas Pooran getting that half-century and Jason Holder as well," Pollard said.

"Pooran has been looking like his old self again. He was a bit scratchy tonight but sometimes that's what you need in a game like this. You want someone to scrap and I think they both scrapped well for us to come through for a victory."

The West Indies avoided suffering back-to-back home defeats for the first time since August 2019.

Pooran's innings also took him past 1,000 ODI runs, becoming the 39th West Indian player to achieve the feat and the joint-third fastest for the side (Viv Richards – 21, Gordon Greenidge – 23, Ramnaresh Sarwan – 27).

AUSSIES STILL BULLISH AHEAD OF DECIDER

Australia are unbeaten in their past six ODI bilateral series (W4, D2) against West Indies and missed out on the opportunity to seal another victory but Carey remained bullish ahead of Monday's decider.

"Bring on game three," Carey said. "The batting group has a bit to prove to get a good score on the board for our quicks but our quicks and spinners are doing a great job."

The stand-in skipper bemoaned Australia's top-order batting, with none of the top six scoring more than 16.

"Obviously it doesn't help when you're five for not-a-lot," he said. "Wade and the bowlers did a great job to get us to a total and we were back in the game.

"We took some early wickets again and the belief was there. We created opportunities and we were in the game in the back end. Unfortunately we couldn't quite close it out and it proved we were 20 or 30 short."

Sri Lanka claimed a much-needed victory in the third and final match of the ODI series against India, chasing down a revised target of 227 with three wickets to spare in Colombo.

Opener Avishka Fernando made 76 and, despite a late wobble, Sri Lanka sealed just their second victory in 11 completed 50-over fixtures, with this their first success since beating Bangladesh in late May.

A much-changed India had reached 147-3 before a lengthy rain break changed the complexion of the innings. Following the resumption, they lost their final seven wickets for 68 runs to be bowled out for 225.

Prithvi Shaw (49), debutant Sanju Samson (46) and Suryakumar Yadav (40) all made useful contributions, while Akila Dananjaya and Praveen Jayawickrama claimed three wickets apiece for the hosts.

Sri Lanka's reply included a maiden half-century in the one-day format for Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who reached the milestone with successive boundaries during a second-wicket partnership worth 109.

Krishnappa Gowtham - another new name included in the India XI - eventually ended the stand, dismissing Rajapaksa for 65 in his opening over, while the impressive Fernando departed for 76 with victory in sight.

Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka had departed for a first-ball duck too, but Ramesh Mendis' unbeaten 15 saw the hosts across the line with 48 balls remaining.


Fresh faces for India

India had the chance to equal their record for most consecutive ODI victories against Sri Lanka, having gone into the contest on a five-match winning streak. However, a side featuring no fewer than five debutants was unable to seal a sweep.

Still, wicketkeeper-batsman Samson impressed in a run-a-ball innings that included five fours and a six, while fellow new faces Chetan Sakariya and Rahul Chahar both claimed two wickets.

Moving on up

This result was timely for Sri Lanka – and not just because of their recent wretched run of form in the white-ball format.

They sat second from bottom in the ICC's Cricket World Cup Super League prior to the game, with only Zimbabwe below them in the standings. This win lifts them one place, above the Netherlands, as they battle to qualify for the 2023 50-over tournament, which will be held in India.

Deepak Chahar was India's unlikely batting hero as his 69 not out inspired a thrilling ODI series-clinching win over Sri Lanka by three wickets.

India coasted to victory with 80 balls to spare in the first match of the three-game rubber in Colombo but they were left with a tall task when a magical leg-spin display from Wanindu Hasaranga (3-37) left them 193-7 after 35.1 overs in pursuit of 275-9.

Chahar, who has a highest first-class score of 57 not out, rode his luck at times and found a willing ally in fellow tailender Bhuveneshwar Kumar (19 not out), before swiping the winning runs through midwicket off Kasun Rajitha from the first ball of the final over.

Chahar also took 2-53 with the ball and began in a more customary new-ball partnership with Kumar, although the first-wicket stand had reached 77 by the time leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (3-50) had Minod Bhanuka held at midwicket for 36.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa was then caught behind first ball off a Chahal top-spinner, although patient half-centuries by opener Aviskha Fernando (50) and Charith Asalanka (65) – both dismissed by Kumar (3-54) – were the foundations of a solid Sri Lanka innings. Chamika Karunaratne provided some welcome late acceleration with 44 not out from 33 balls.

Hasaranga bowled the dangerous Prithvi Shaw with a googly and trapped stand-in India skipper Shikhar Dhawan lbw for 29, Ishan Kishan having dragged on a Rajitha long-hop.

Manish Pandey was unfortunate to be run out for 37 when Dasun Shanaka tipped a shot back down the ground onto the stumps from Suryakumar, who looked like playing a decisive hand before bring trapped lbw by Lakshan Sandakan for 53.

Sri Lanka captain Shanaka also removed the dangerous Hardik Pandya for nought, with his brother Krunal bowled by a beauty from Hasaranga to clear the way for Chahar to set up a grandstand finish.

Chahar in dreamland

India are now undefeated in their past 12 ODI series against Sri Lanka, winning 10, but they were left in the unusual position of needing a significant lower-order contribution. Chahar's undefeated 69 is the second-highest score by anyone in this format for his country batting at number eight or lower.

"Only one thing was going on in my mind: this is the kind of innings I've been dreaming of," he beamed while being named player of the match.

Sri Lanka fail to match Hasaranga heroics

Hasaranga dearly deserved to finish on the winning side, but the difference between his efforts and those of Sri Lanka's other frontline bowlers was significant. The wrist-spinner's economy rate of 3.7 was not backed up by Rajitha (7.4), Sandakan (7.1) or Dushmantha Chameera (6.5), who went wicketless in his 10 overs. Shanaka contributed 1-10 from his three overs, leaving himself curiously under-bowled.

Shikhar Dhawan led from the front with an unbeaten 86 as India cruised to a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first ODI in Colombo.

The hosts headed into the contest on the back of coronavirus-interrupted preparations and ructions behind the scenes between players and the national board, but scrapped their way to a competitive 262-9 despite no player passing 50.

Dhawan - captaining a largely second-string India, given Virat Kohli's Test squad have departed for their Test series in England next month - ensured the tourists reached their target with 80 balls to spare, while debutant Ishan Kishan (59) and Prithvi Shaw (43) also impressed - the latter hitting nine of his 24 deliveries to the boundary.

Avishka Fernando and wicketkeeper Minod Bhanuka put on 49 for the opening wicket before Fernando lobbed Yuzvendra Chahal's (2-52) first delivery to Manish Pandey at short cover to depart for 33.

Leg-spinner Chahal excelled in tandem with slow left-armer Kuldeep Yadav (2-48), who accounted for Bhanuka (27) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa – the number three's breezy 24 from 22 deliveries briefly threatening to change the tempo – to leave Sri Lanka 89-3.

From that point it was a repeated story of useful contributions without anything substantial. New captain Dasun Shanaka and Charith Asalanka diligently compiled 39 and 38 respectively before each falling to swing bowler Deepak Chahar (2-37), while Krunal Pandya's miserly left-arm spin (1-26) snared up the middle overs, leaving Chamika Karunaratne's unbeaten 43 off 35 balls as Sri Lanka's highest score.

Shaw made it clear India would not be shackled in similar fashion as he climbed into Sri Lanka from the off.

 

Isuru Udana's two overs disappeared for 27 – including three successive fours through the covers - and the score was 58 when Fernando caught Shaw at long-on off Dhananjaya de Silva, whose two wickets came at a steep cost of 49 runs in five overs.

Kishan, who enjoyed an unforgettable 23rd birthday, ensured there was little let-up. He danced down the pitch to dispatch Dhananjaya for six first ball, clattering the next for four more through cover point.

The youngster reached a half-century in 33 balls and edged his 42nd behind off Lakshan Sandakan but Dhawan remained as a regal presence, finding further willing allies in Manish Pandey (26) and Suryakumar Yadav (31 not out) to complete a resounding victory.

Shanaka wants more variety from Sri Lanka

The difference between two – in isolation, at least – impressive opening partnerships set the tone for the contest. But the end of the first powerplay, Sri Lanka were 55-1. India were already up to 91-1 after 10 overs. "The Indians batted aggressively," Shanaka said. "We needed to vary the pace as the ball was coming on to the bat nicely. In the next game, we will have to improve on that."

Dhawan laughing as the elder statesman

When you've top-scored as a victorious captain and also surpassed 6,000 career ODI runs, there is perhaps no better time for self-deprecation. Dhawan certainly thought so, claiming he did not have the required shots to reach three figures with an exciting young batting line-up firing all around him.

"I was telling them to take it easy actually," he beamed, before chuckling his way through a post-match presentation where Shaw was named player of the match despite scoring half as many runs as his skipper.

"The way these young boys play in the IPL, they get lots of exposure and they just finished the game in the first 15 overs only. I thought about my hundred but there were not many runs left. When Surya came out to bat, I thought I need to improve my skills."

A second-string India side will start their ODI series in Sri Lanka as favourites, with the hosts heading into Sunday's opener in Colombo against a backdrop of multi-faceted chaos.

The start of the series was delayed by five days due to a coronavirus outbreak in the Sri Lanka camp, with batting coach Grant Flower and team data analyst GT Niroshan testing positive for the Delta variant.

Sri Lanka's squad were allowed to leave isolation and resume their preparations last weekend after returning negative PCR tests.

ESPNcricinfo reported team doctors believed Flower and Niroshan's infections stemmed from the recent tour of England, where the home team suffered a breach of their bio-secure bubble that forced them to name a reserve line-up for their subsequent ODI games against Pakistan.

Although Sri Lanka do not find themselves in quite such a selection bind, they remain without deposed captain Kusal Perera due to a shoulder injury and Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka remain suspended for breaking COVID-19 protocols during the England tour.

Dasun Shanaka will skipper the team, a previously bit-part white ball player having ascended to the role amid a stand-off between Sri Lanka's players and their board over playing contracts.

They will emerge from a troubled period to take on an India side captained by opener Shikhar Dhawan and with pace bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar second in command.

India batting great Rahul Dravid has been named as coach for the tour, with the first-choice side awaiting their forthcoming series in England.

Batsmen Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Nitish Rana, all-rounder K Gowtham and left-arm seamer Chetan Sakariya have all been handed maiden call-ups.

 

Bhuvi ready to put injury woes to one side

Kumar will be the leader of fast bowling unit also featuring Sakariya, Navdeep Saini and Deepak Chahar. Having been beset by injury problems over recent years, he was back to his best in the March limited-overs series against England. In the ODIs, he took six wickets at a miserly economy rate of 4.65.

Shanaka must show leadership class

Irrespective of how and why Shanaka became Sri Lanka captain, he is now the man in possession of a role that tends not to promise longevity for incumbents. He will need to improve upon 611 runs and 10 wickets from his 28 ODI appearances to date to turn some unhelpful conversations around.

Key Opta facts

- India are undefeated in their past 11 ODI series against Sri Lanka (W9, D2). Their previous defeat was a 3-0 reverse way back in 1997.
- India have won each of eight most recent ODIs in Sri Lanka, all versus the host country. It is a streak that began after a nine-wicket loss in 2012.
- Sri Lanka have at least won their past five ODIs at the R. Premadasa Stadium. The last time they enjoyed a longer winning run at the venue in this format was a six-match span from December 2001 to September 2002.
- Dhawan will become the 25th player to captain India in ODIs. He requires 23 more runs to become the 10th Indian player to register 6,000 runs in 50-over internationals.

England's makeshift ODI side clinched a series win over Pakistan with a dominant 52-run victory over the tourists at Lord's.

Despite having to pick a brand new squad ahead of the series following a COVID outbreak in the camp, England crushed Pakistan by nine wickets in the first match.

Their victory was not quite as emphatic on Saturday but was never in doubt as Pakistan proved incapable of chasing down 248.

Phil Salt (60) and James Vince (56) were the stars with the bat as England were bowled out for 247 in a game reduced to 47 overs a side following a delayed start.

Hasan Ali got himself on the honours board with 5-51 for Pakistan, but England's Saqib Mahmood (2-19) was arguably the pick of the bowlers as the tourists were left playing catch-up en route to being bowled out for 195.

Dawid Malan and Zak Crawley fell for ducks in an inauspicious start for England, but Salt racked up 10 fours for his first international half-century and Vince scored his second in 18 ODIs to turn the tide in England's favour.

England then lost the next five wickets for just 42 balls, Hasan getting the prized scalp of stand-in captain Ben Stokes, but Lewis Gregory (40) and Brydon Carse (31) put on the highest eighth-wicket partnership at Lord's in ODIs with a stand of 69.

That ensured England got to a total they easily defended as Pakistan's top order failed miserably. Imam-ul-Haq followed up his duck at Cardiff by falling for one, caught behind from Gregory, before Mahmood trapped Pakistan skipper Babar Azam lbw for 19.

Mahmood then produced a beauty to dismiss Mohammad Rizwan (5) and Fakhar Zaman scored just 10 off 45 deliveries before being skittled by Craig Overton, with Saud Shakeel (56) and Hasan (31) the only batsmen to give Pakistan hope as they saw the series slip away.

Armed with an unbeatable 2-0 lead, England will aim to seal a series sweep at Edgbaston on Tuesday.

More Mahmood magic

After taking 4-42 in the opener in Cardiff, Mahmood was outstanding once more for England.

An excellent length delivery struck Babar on the pads to dismiss Pakistan's most dangerous batsman, and the ball to remove Rizwan was similarly impressive as Mahmood got one to nip away and draw a thin edge to wicketkeeper John Simpson.

Pakistan's batting blues

Having been bowled out for 141 in the series opener, Pakistan showed only limited improvement as a collective batting unit here.

The tone was set as England ripped through their top order, with skipper Babar again gone for a low score having been dismissed for a duck in Cardiff.

For a player who averages over 55 in ODI cricket, it is a bemusing loss of form.

Ben Stokes is set to be sidelined for up to 12 weeks, the ECB has confirmed, with the England all-rounder facing surgery on a broken finger.

Stokes was ruled out of the remainder of the Indian Premier League season after suffering the injury when he ran in from the boundary to claim a low catch and dismiss Punjab Kings batsman Chris Gayle in the Rajasthan Royals' first game of the tournament, which they lost by four runs on Monday.

An ECB statement read: "England all-rounder Ben Stokes will be out for up to 12 weeks after a repeat X-ray and CT scan on Thursday revealed that he has a fracture of his left index finger. 

"Stokes, who is currently in India with Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, will fly home tomorrow [Saturday]. He will have surgery in Leeds on Monday."

That timeline means Stokes will miss England's two-Test series with New Zealand in June as well as Sri Lanka's limited-overs tour of the country.

However, he could play some part in the ODI and T20I series with Pakistan, while he is scheduled to recover in time to face India in a five-match Test series starting August 4.

England get their summer schedule under way against New Zealand at Lord's on June 2.

Pakistan's Babar Azam has risen above Virat Kohli to take top spot in the ODI batting rankings.

After a fine showing in the recent series victory over South Africa, Babar replaced his India rival at the summit with 865 points to Kohli's 857.

Babar scored 103 in the opening fixture against the Proteas and closed the three-match showdown with a fine 94, earning the player of the match award.

"This is another milestone in my career, which will now require even more hard work and absolute consistency with the bat in order for me to hold on to the ranking for an extended period of time, like Sir Vivian Richards from January 1984 to October 1988 and Virat Kohli for 1,258 days," said Babar, who is sixth in the Test rankings and third in the T20I format.

"I have also previously topped the T20I rankings, but the ultimate ambition and goal is to lead the Test rankings, which are the real testament and reward to a batsman's calibre, reputation and skills.

"I understand to achieve this objective, I will not only have to perform consistently, but more importantly, against the top sides.

"I am looking forward to this challenge and remain confident I will be able to accomplish this target with the support of my team-mates and coaching staff."

Babar has played 80 ODIs, scoring 3,808 runs at an average of 56.83, a strike rate of 88.7, and with a highest score of 125 not out.

Sachin Tendulkar has returned home after the India cricket great spent close to a week in hospital following his coronavirus positive test.

The 47-year-old former captain revealed on March 27 he had been experiencing "mild symptoms", prompting him to undergo a check for COVID-19.

On April 2, he announced he had been admitted to hospital "as a matter of abundant precaution under medical advice".

Tendulkar, the highest-scoring batsman in Test cricket history with 15,921 runs, declared on Twitter on Thursday that he had left his hospital bed.

He wrote: "I have just come home from the hospital and will remain isolated while continuing to rest and recuperate.

"I would like to thank everyone for all the good wishes and prayers. Really appreciate it. I remain ever grateful to all the medical staff who took such good care of me and have been working tirelessly for over a year in such difficult circumstances."

Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam produced more brilliance to help Pakistan seal a 2-1 ODI series win over South Africa on Wednesday.

Pakistan won the decisive third ODI by 28 runs at Centurion.

They set South Africa a target of 321 after Fakhar (101) followed up his memorable innings of 193 last time out – an ODI record score in a run chase – with another century.

Pakistan captain Babar scored a century at this venue in the first ODI and almost repeated the trick before falling for 94, while Hasan Ali smashed 32 from 11 balls as the tourists scored 320-7.

Janneman Malan (70), Kyle Verreynne (62) and Andile Phehlukwayo (54) ensured South Africa – who were playing without their Indian Premier League contingent – were competitive in their run chase.

But they were ultimately bowled out for 292 in the final over as Pakistan continued a fine ODI streak that has seen them lose only two of their last 12 matches.

It is only the second time in 10 attempts that Pakistan have defeated South Africa in a 50-over series, this win coming after their triumph on the 2013 tour.

The two teams now turn their attention to a four-match T20 series which begins on Saturday.

With an all-new seam attack due to the absence of the likes of IPL duo Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, South Africa struggled to make an impression with the ball.

Fakhar had nine fours and three sixes as he put on 112 with Imam-ul-Haq (57) and then 94 with Babar to leave the tourists at 206-2 by the time his 104-ball innings came to an end.

He was dismissed by Keshav Maharaj, the pick of the Proteas bowlers with figures of 3-45.

The Pakistan innings had a huge finish when Hasan fired four maximums off the bowling of JJ Smuts (1-67) in the penultimate over.

Babar remained until he fell on the final delivery, caught by Verreynne on the boundary as he sought a six that would have taken him to three figures.

South Africa were left needing 76 from the last seven overs with five wickets in hand.

But their hopes of a successful run chase ended when they lost both Verreynne and Phehlukwayo – who put on 108 for the sixth wicket – in the space of seven balls.

It meant defeat for new captain Temba Bavuma, who has been handed the job through to the 2023 Cricket World Cup, in his first series at the helm.

Fakhar Zaman's stunning 193 proved in vain as South Africa levelled the three-match ODI series against Pakistan with a 17-run victory in Johannesburg on Sunday. 

Babar Azam's century propelled Pakistan to a dramatic three-wicket win in the first match on Friday, but they fell short of winning the series at the Imperial Wanderers Stadium after some significant contributions at the top of the order from the hosts. 

Captain Temba Bavuma was in supreme form, hitting a wonderful 92, while Quinton de Kock (80) and David Miller (50 off 27 balls) helped South Africa to 341. 

Zaman's 155-ball 193 was the highest score in a chase in ODI history, although it was not enough to help his side to an improbable victory. 

Aiden Markram set the tone for South Africa's innings with an impressive 39, ultimately falling to a Faheem Ashraf delivery.

De Kock and Bavuma anchored South Africa, putting up a 114-run partnership for the second wicket, the former bowled by Haris Rauf 20 runs shy of his century. 

Rassie van der Dussen plundered 60 off 37 balls to put the hosts in a strong position, before Bavuma was caught by Azam from Rauf's bowling for 92. 

Miller then gave South Africa's total an even healthier look with a half-century.

Pakistan suffered an early blow in the chase when Imam-ul-Haq was dismissed by Lungi Ngidi in the second over, while Anrich Nortje took three quick wickets. 

The visitors' hopes of an unlikely win looked in tatters, but Zaman gave them hope with a record-breaking innings. 

His spellbinding 193 surpassed Herchelle Gibbs' 175 as the highest individual score at the Imperial Wanderers Stadium, and was the second highest ever in a losing ODI cause.

Zaman fell in the penultimate over when he was run out by Markram after De Kock had cheekily encouraged him to think the ball was going to the other end.

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