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Sri Lanka lift Asia Cup

Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup for the fifth time with a five-wicket victory over defending champions Pakistan in Mirpur.

Lahiru Thirimanne struck 101 and Mahela Jayawardene added 71, before skipper Angelo Mathews and Chaturanga de Silva saw their side over the line with 3.4 overs to spare.

Pakistan recovered from a shaky start to record 260 for five, with Fawad Alam hitting a maiden one-day international century, while Lasith Malinga took all of his side’s wickets.

The reigning champions won the toss and chose to bat, but Malinga quickly reduced them to 18 for three. The pace bowler took a scalp in each of his first three overs, sending Sharjeel Khan, Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez back to the pavilion.

Lahiru Thirimanne celebrates his century, which took Sri Lanka to the cusp of a fifth Asia Cup success, which skipper Angelo Mathews and Chaturanga de Silva completed with 3.4 overs leftAlam steadied the ship, forging a partnership with captain Misbah-ul-Haq that was worth 122 by the time Malinga took his next wicket.

At that stage, Misbah had reached a 37th one-day international fifty but he remains without a ton after holing out to long-on when on 64.

Alam was unperturbed and enjoyed another fruitful stand with Umar Akmal.

Alam remained unbeaten, reaching 114, while Akmal scored 59 before also falling to Malinga.

Sri Lanka’s chase began well with Kusal Perera and Thirimanne putting on 56 for the opening wicket.

Saeed Ajmal then struck twice in as many balls, removing Perera and Kumar Sangakkara, but that brought out Jayawardene.

He and Thirimanne put on 156 for the third wicket, taking Sri Lanka to within 39 runs of victory.

Mohammad Talha ended their stand by ousting Jayawardene, before Junaid Khan dismissed Ashan Priyanjan, who had made 13. Ajmal then bowled Thirimanne shortly after the batsman had gone to three figures, with Sri Lanka 14 runs short.

But there was never any danger of a collapse, with Matthews and De Silva safely steering their side home.

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