Lahiru Thirimanne and Lasith Malinga were the stars of the show as Sri Lanka edged to an exciting 12-run victory over Pakistan at Fatullah in the opening match of the Asia Cup.
Thirimanne’s second one-day international century helped set a testing victory target of 297, but his efforts looked set to go to waste until fast bowler Malinga produced a devastating late spell.
Pakistan were favourites having reached 242 for four in the 43rd over on the back of a superb stand between captain Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal, who hit 73 and 74 respectively.
However, Malinga was to work his magic with a little help from fellow paceman Suranga Lakmal.
After Lakmal had made the vital breakthrough to dismiss Umar and end a 121-run stand, Malinga swept through the tail as Pakistan were bowled out for 284.
The 30-year-old claimed all of the final five Pakistan wickets to fall, including those of Misbah and the dangerous Shahid Afridi, to seal the win with seven balls to spare.
He finished with figures of 5-52, his sixth five-for in ODIs.
Thirimanne featured in a 161-run alliance for the second wicket with Sri Lanka talisman Kumar Sangakkara and, at 204 for two with almost 15 overs still to go, Sri Lanka looked set for a mammoth total.
However, Thirimanne's dismissal, bowled by Saeed Ajmal for 102, sparked a Pakistan fightback with the ball and Sri Lanka were limited to 296 for six in the end, captain Angelo Mathews finishing unbeaten on 55.