Bangalore: A fine all-round effort from skipper Shoaib Malik (89 and 3/61) helped Pakistan salvage some pride with a fine 31-run win against India in the fifth and final one-dayer at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur on Sunday.
Pakistan posted a healthy 306 for six wickets after being sent in to bat and then bowled out India for 275 with a ball to spare. India had already wrapped the series 3-2.
Malik, under fire for his batting and captaincy, played a flawless innings and then returned to pluck three wickets including the prized scalp of Dhoni to clinch a morale-boosting ahead Test series.
Left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir made early inroads into the Indian top order to leave India struggling at 62 for four in the 12th over.
He dismissed openers Gautam Gambhir (12), Sachin Tendulkar (30) and Virender Sehwag (10) in a lethel first spell before finishing with four for 53.
Rohit Sharma top-scored with 52 for his maiden one-day fifty and led the fightback by raising 81 runs for the fifth wicket with Yuvraj Singh (50), who made his fourth half-century of the series.
Malik had the 20-year-old Sharma caught at long on before Yuvraj was victim of dubious decision given by umpire Suresh Shastri after he was given out caught behind off a Gul delivery which missed the edge by some distance. He reluctantly walked away and television replays suggested the ball had grazed his shoulder.
Mahendra Dhoni was batting fluently before he twisted his ankle scampering for a quick single. He called for a runner before he was out for 24.
Irfan Pathan hit 44 to narrow the margin of defeat.
Earlier, Shoaib Malik and Mohd Yousuf laid a platform for huge total on a good batting strip with 168-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Malik played with a pinch of aggression from the word go striking six boundaries and two towering sixes while played a sheet anchor role to the perfection with a 82-ball 74 (4 X 4s).
Openers Salman Butt (36) and Imran Nazir (20 off 40) got off Pakistan to a good start scoring 65 runs in 12 overs before the former mis timed the cut to give a regulation catch to Rohit Sharma stationed at Point off Sreesanth.
The right-arm seamer playing his first game in the series looked bit rusty with the new ball. However he came back well in his second spell to remove Imran Nazir and Yasir Hameed to leave Pak reeling on 77/3. Sree induced an edge of Hameed's blade off a bouncer and Dhoni did the rest and then deceived Nazir with a slower one - a length ball on off-stump line and Nazir struck powerfully straight back at the bowler who took a good reflex catch in the followthrough.
Young skipper Malik joined Yousuf at the crease at this critical juncture and steadied tottering Pak innings. They paced up their innings beautifully. The duo played cautiously to start with, they placed the ball in the gaps, ran hard to take all the twos and threes on offer and opened their arms after 35 overs. Malik trying to up the ante gou out stumped by Dhoni off Yuvraj.
Fawad Alam (32 off 23, 2 X 4s&1 X 6) and Misbah (22 off 17, 1 X 4&1 X 6) played a little cameo to take their side past 300.
Sreesanth claimed 3 for 52 in his 10 overs while Kartik, Yuvraj and Pathan took a wicket apiece. Debutante Praveen Kumar who shared the new ball with Sree bowled a good first spell. He troubled the openers with away moving and nipping in deliveries and was tad unlucky to have went wicketless.