Dhaka - Opener Lahiru Thirimanne hit a magnificent century to help Sri Lanka
thump Pakistan by five wickets to regain the Asia Cup title in Dhaka on
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 Dhaka's Shere
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 team-mate Mahela Jayawardene, who
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.
who had a poor run of scores with 13, nine, 14 and nought in the
tournament, benefitted when wicket-keeper Umar Akmal dropped a
regulation catch off Shahid Afridi.
Jayawardene, then 36, hit nine boundaries and a six before he holed out off paceman Mohammad Talha.
Lanka also lost Ashan Prinyanjan (13) to Junaid Khan and Thirimanne to
Ajmal but skipper Angelo Mathews (16 not out) hit the winning runs.
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.
wanted to break the barrier between us and finals," said Mathews of Sri
Lanka's failure to win the World Cup finals of 2007 and 2011 and the
Twenty20 finals of 2009 and 2012.
"The credit goes to the whole
team. It was a very good run chase and big victory not only for me but
for the whole team," said Mathews whose team won all the five matches in
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq blamed defeat on his side's loss of early wickets.
think losing the first three wickets quickly put us under pressure and
although we managed to reach 260, it was some 20-30 short," said Misbah.
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 Misbah.
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.
who returned to the team with a brilliant 74 against Bangladesh on
Tuesday after a four-year absence, hit eight boundaries and three sixes
off 134 balls.
Alam became the first left-handed Pakistan batsman,
other than openers, to hit a one-day century. He hit paceman Thisara
Perera over long-on for a six to reach his century off 126 balls.
Akmal hit seven boundaries to give impetus to the innings as Pakistan scored 101 in the last ten overs.
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.
Misbah and Alam played steadily during their 122-run partnership and were lucky to survive some close chances.
was ruled not out on 19 by Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford when action
replays suggested he edged Mathews to wicket-keeper Sangakkara.
hit three boundaries and two sixes during his solid 98-ball knock
before Malinga returned for his second spell and had the Pakistan
captain caught in the deep.
Five-times champions India, hosts Bangladesh and Afghanistan were the other teams in the competition.