Sri Lanka beat Pakistan to win Asia Cup

Lasith Malinga's 5-56 and Lahiru Thirimanne's 101 guide Sri Lanka to their fifth Asia Cup title

Dhaka: Opener Lahiru Thirimanne hit a magnificent century to help Sri Lanka thump Pakistan by five wickets to regain the Asia Cup title here on Saturday.

Sri Lanka's Lahiru Thirimanne celebrates his century in Dhaka on Saturday. Pic/AFP.

The left-hander notched 101 for his third one-day hundred to anchor Sri Lanka’s successful chase of a 261-run target in 46.2 overs for his country’s fifth Asia Cup title at the Shere Bangla Stadium.

Lasith Malinga (third from right) celebrates the wicket of Pakistan’s Ahmed Shehzad with teammates in Dhaka on Saturday

Thirimanne, who also scored a hundred in the tournament’s opening match against the same opponents, hit 13 boundaries during his 108-ball knock and steadied the chase during a solid 156-run third-wicket partnership with veteran teammate Mahela Jayawardene, who made 75.

Pakistan’s main spin weapon Saeed Ajmal had broken through after Sri Lanka’s confident start of 56, dismissing Kusal Perera (42) and dangerman Kumar Sangakkara (nought) off successive deliveries. Thirimanne, who reached his hundred with a single off Khan, was finally bowled by Ajmal who finished with 3-26.

Sri Lanka had also won the Asia Cup in 1986, 1997, 2004 and 2008. Earlier, Pakistan, who decided to bat after winning the toss, were helped to 260-5 by a brilliant unbeaten 114 by Fawad Alam and a solid 65 by skipper Misbah-ul Haq.

Pakistan's Fawad Alam, who scored an unbeaten 114

Alam’s knock helped Pakistan recover from early devastation caused by paceman Lasith Malinga, who took the first three wickets to force Pakistan on to the back foot, before he finished with 5-56.

Alam added an invaluable 122 for the fourth wicket with Misbah and then another 115 for the fifth wicket with Umar Akmal who made a 42-ball 59. Earlier, Malinga rocked the innings with the wickets of Sharjeel Khan (eight), Ahmed Shehzad (five) and Mohammad Hafeez (three) in his incisive four-over spell, pushing Pakistan to 18-3 by the fifth over.

. Alam’s maiden ODI ton helps Pakistan recover from 18-3
. Thirimanne, Jayawardene put on 156 for the third wicket 
. Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal takes 3-26

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