Abid Ali delivers again for Pakistan after 'learning' from greats of the game

Hosts chase down 298 against Sri Lanka to win ODI series 2-0, Danushka Gunathilaka century in vain

Pakistan's Abid Ali, second from left, celebrates his fifty against Sri Lanka in Karachi, Pakistan, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. Pakistan capitalized on a brisk century opening stand between Fakhar Zaman and Abid Ali to beat Sri Lanka by five wickets in the third and final one-day international on Wednesday, clinching the series 2-0. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Sri Lanka opener Danushka Gunathilaka hit a century but it wasn't enough as Pakistan stormed to a five-wicket win in the third and final ODI in Karachi to clinch the series 2-0.

Gunathilaka made 133 as the Sri Lankans made a challenging 297-9 in their 50 overs but the hosts chased down the target in 48.2 overs. Openers Abid Ali (74 of 67 balls) and Fakhar Zaman (76 of 91) added 123 for the opening wicket to set the stage for a comfortable win.

It was another fruitful outing for Abid who is in top form. He made a century on debut against Australia in Dubai earlier this year and entered the Sri Lanka series on the back of an unbeaten double century in first-class cricket.

Abid now has a century and a fifty in four ODIs and the right-hand batsman said he looks at videos of great players to improve his game.

"I try to learn from legends of the game by watching their videos," he was quoted as saying by the ICC. "When I go back, I watch videos of legends from different countries to help improve my game. Most recently I have been following Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan."

Abid, 31, was not always on the selectors' radar. He forced them to take note of his abilities when he hit the highest List A score by a Pakistan batsman – 209 – last year.

"I try to take it positively when I’m not selected despite performing, I believe everything happens for a good reason," he said. "This is good for team that there’s strong competition among openers as it encourages everyone to give their best.”

Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed lauded the intent shown by Pakistan's top order, with Haris Sohail also chipping in with 56.

"It wasn't an easy target but thanks to Abid and others who showed positive intent, they helped us chased it down," the Pakistan captain said.

It was Pakistan's first series win in 15 months. The two teams now play three T20 Internationals on October 5, 7 and 9; all matches are in Lahore.