Fawad ton boosts Pakistan

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iol spt mar8 Fawad-Pakistan AP Left-hander Fawad Alam capped a remarkable international return with a maiden hundred to lift Pakistan to 260-5 in the Asia Cup final in Dhaka. Photo by: A.M. Ahad/AP

Left-hander Fawad Alam capped a remarkable international return with a maiden hundred to lift Pakistan to 260-5 in the Asia Cup final in Dhaka on Saturday.

The 28-year-old lifted Thisara Perera for his third six to reach his hundred which boosted Pakistan from a precarious 18-3 after they won the toss and batted.

Alam's 114 not out helped Pakistan recover from an early devastation by paceman Lasith Malinga, who took the first three wickets to push Pakistan on to the back foot, and finished with 5-56.

Alam added an invaluable 122 for the fourth wicket with skipper Misbah-ul Haq (65) and then another 115 for the fifth wicket with Umar Akmal who made a 42-ball 59.

Alam, who returned to the team with a brilliant 74 against Bangladesh on Tuesday after a four-year gap, hit eight boundaries and three sixes off 134 balls.

Alam became the first left-handed Pakistani batsman, other than openers, to hit a one-day century.

Akmal knocked seven boundaries to give impetus to the innings as Pakistan scored 101 in the last ten overs.

Earlier, Malinga rocked the innings with wickets of Sharjeel Khan (eight), Ahmed Shehzad (five) and Mohammad Hafeez (three) in his incisive four-over spell, pushing Pakistan to 18-3 by fifth over.

Misbah and Alam played steadily during their 122-run partnership and were lucky to survive some close chances.

Misbah was ruled not out on 19 by Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford when action replays suggested he edged paceman Angelo Mathews to wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara.

Misbah hit three boundaries and two sixes during his solid 98-ball knock before Malinga returned for his second spell and had Pakistani captain caught in the deep.

Pakistan had pre-match worries over the fitness of Shahid Afridi (hip) and Shehzad (shoulder) but both passed fitness test. They included paceman Junaid Khan and Sharjeel in place of Abdur Rehman and Sohaib Maqsood.

Sri Lanka brought in Malinga in place of Ajantha Mendis.– AFP

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