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Butt, Iftikhar cut down Sri Lanka

OPENING batsman Salman Butt hit an unbeaten century and seamer Rao Iftikhar took a career-best 4-42 yesterday to give Pakistan an eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first limited-overs international.

Butt made a polished 100 off 117 balls with 13 fours as Pakistan reached 220-2 in 45.5 overs after Sri Lanka was bowled out for 219 in Karachi. Pakistan leads 1-0 in the three-match series.

Iftikhar was supported by Umar Gul taking 3-30 with Kumar Sangakkara top-scoring with 49 for Sri Lanka.

Butt and Khurram Manzoor put on an opening stand of 168 despite facing two of the world's best spinners in Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis.

Manzoor, who hit nine fours in 127 balls, was out for 83 in the 38th over caught and bowled by Muralitharan, who took 1-42.

Earlier, fast bowlers Iftikhar and Gul ran through Sri Lanka's batting lineup after Sanath Jayasuriya (42) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (38) had put on an opening stand of 71 off 53 balls at National Stadium.

Sangakkara scored his 49 off 70 balls before he was dismissed in the 35th over in Iftikhar's second spell by Butt's brilliant two-handed diving catch at gully.

Iftikhar had Thilan Thushara out next ball to make it 176-7, and he soon ended the innings by bowling No. 11 Mendis.

Mahela Jayawardene, who won the toss and elected to bat, continued his poor form when Iftikhar had him caught behind for 1. Sri Lanka's captain has scored four ducks in five previous one-day internationals, including against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

Gul had provided the initial breakthrough by getting rid off Dilshan and Jayasuriya.

Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar wasn't able to impress in his comeback ODI after 13 months out, finishing with 0-43 off seven overs.

The second match is today in Karachi, with Lahore hosting the final game on Saturday.


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