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Alam ton takes Pakistan to 260-5 against Sri Lanka

March 8, 2014

MIRPUR, Bangladesh (AP) — Left-handed batsman Fawad Alam struck a maiden ODI century Saturday as Pakistan scored a fighting 260-5 against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final.

Alam slammed 114 not out off 134 balls with eight fours and three sixes to repair the damage inflicted by pace bowler Lasith Malinga (5-56), who had reduced Pakistan to 18-3 at one stage.

Alam was associated in a crucial 122-run fourth wicket stand with captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who compiled a neat 65 off 98 balls with three fours and two sixes for a 37th ODI half-century and the 10th against Sri Lanka.

Alam and Misbah batted together for 32.1 overs to effectively see off the danger of a mediocre score. It was slow progress in the mid overs with Sri Lanka often keeping seven fielders inside the 30-yard circle.

But the batsmen opened up in time to swell the total and the partnership was broken when Misbah holed out to long on off Malinga during the batting power-play taken from 36 overs onwards.

Alam, who was lucky to see wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara fail to latch on to a difficult overhead catch off Suranga Lakmal on 41 and Chaturanga de Silva let off another one at cover on 92, got to his century with a six over mid-wicket off Thisara Perera.

Akmal then got some quick runs toward the end with a quick 59 off 42 balls with seven fours.

Earlier, Malinga, who returned to the team after being rested for the previous game against Bangladesh, seized the early initiative for Sri Lanka after Pakistan elected to bat.

He had left-hander Sharjeel Khan caught at wide mid-on and then dismissed both Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez caught by Sangakkara with fine out-swinging deliveries. Malinga, who had grabbed 5-52 in Sri Lanka’s 12-run win over Pakistan in their league match, grabbed 3-13 in his opening spell.

Malinga took a wicket each in his first three overs as Pakistan was left struggling by the fifth over.

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