Mohammad Hafeez notched his third hundred of the series while off-spinner Saeed Ajmal grabbed four wickets to help Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the fourth one-day international on Wednesday.
Hafeez finished with 113 not out for his ninth one-day hundred as Pakistan knocked off their modest 226-run target in the 42nd over to take an unbeatable 3-1 lead ahead of Friday's fifth and final match.
Pakistan had restricted Sri Lanka to 225 all out in 48.5 overs with Ajmal (4-39) and paceman Umar Gul (3-37) sharing the spoils. Hafeez, who hit hundreds in Pakistan's two wins in the first and third matches in Sharjah, pushed Tillakaratne Dilshan for his 12th boundary to complete three figures, raising his bat and blowing a kiss to his wife in the stands.
Hafeez became the sixth batsman in all one-day cricket to hit three tons in one bilateral series. In all Hafeez hit two sixes and 12 boundaries off 119 balls, while Sohaib Maqsood finished with a 56-ball 46 not out with a six and four boundaries.
Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad (44) put Pakistan on track during a solid 84-run stand after opener Sharjeel Khan was dismissed for 13.The stand set up victory and even after Shehzad's dismissal, caught in the slips off Lakmal, Pakistan wiped off the target with consummate ease.
Shehzad hit five boundaries during his 56-ball knock as Sri Lanka's bowlers were rendered ineffective.
This becomes Pakistan's seventh one-day series win in the year — their best-ever in a calendar year, beating the six series win record achieved in 2011.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 225 in 48.5 overs (A Priyanjan 74, K Sangakkara 51, S Ajmal 4/39); Pakistan 226/2 in 41.1 overs (M Hafeez 113 n.o, S Maqsood 46 n.o)
Afridi skips final ODI, returns home
DUBAI: Pakistan's flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi has skipped the fifth and final ODI against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, scheduled to be held on Friday and returned home. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement that Afridi had been given permission to return home because of "illness" of his daughter, but reliable sources in the team said that another reason for him to opt out of the last ODI was because Pakistan have already won the series and he wanted the team management to give exposure to the youngsters.
"Afridi felt that youngsters like Anwar Ali and Haris Sohail who have not got a chance to play as yet in