Lahiru Thirimanne notched a century in his new role as opening batsman and Lasith Malinga claimed five wickets in his last three overs to spur Sri Lanka to a thrilling 12-run victory over defending champion Pakistan in the Asia Cup opener.
Sri Lanka innings
K Perera c Akmal b Gul 14
L Thirimanne b Ajmal 102
K Sangakkara c Shehzad b Gul 67
M Jayawardene b Afridi 13
A Mathews not out 55
T Perera c Shehzad b Afridi 6
P de Silva run out 2
D Chandimal not out 19
Extras (b 4, lb 6, w 8) 18
Total (6 wickets; 50 overs) 296
Fall of wickets 1-28, 2-189, 3-204, 4-224, 5-245, 6-251
S Khan c Mathews b Lakmal 26
A Shehzad b de Silva 28
M Hafeez lbw b Mathews 18
S Maqsood c de Silva b Senanayake 17
M Haq c Senanayake b Malinga 73
U Akmal c Sangakkara b Lakmal 74
S Afridi c Chandimal b Malinga 4
B Bhatti b Malinga 18
U Gul c de Silva b Malinga 2
S Ajmal lbw b Malinga 10
J Khan not out 1
Extras (lb 3, w 10) 13
Total (all out; 48.5 overs) 284
Fall of wickets 1-28, 2-77, 3-83, 4-121, 5-242, 6-252, 7-254, 8-262, 9-281, 10-284
Thirimanne's 102 off 110 balls lifted Sri Lanka to a competitive 296-6 with Kumar Sangakkara (67) and captain Angelo Mathews (55 not out) also scoring valuable half-centuries.
Malinga led Sri Lanka's stunning comeback with 5-52 after Suranga Lakmal delivered the breakthrough by having Umar Akmal caught behind for 74 to end a threatening 121-run stand with captain Misbah-ul-Haq.
Malinga dismissed Shahid Afridi for four and had Misbah caught in the deep for 73 in one over before mopping up the tail in his next two overs to bowl out Pakistan for 284 with seven balls to spare.
"I think Akmal batted really well, that was a crucial partnership... we had six wickets in hand and we should have won this game," Misbah said.
"The way the pitch was playing, no turn, nothing for the fast bowler, this should have been chased."
Akmal and Misbah scored better than run-a-ball and Pakistan was cruising at 242-4 in the 43rd over before losing the last six wickets for 42 runs to the genius of Malinga's varied pace.
"I still think we were 20 runs short considering the start Thirimanne and Sangakkara gave us," Mathews said.
"Malinga is the best bowler for us ... whenever we are under pressure he is our go-to man and he did it again."
Earlier, left-handed Thirimanne orchestrated 11 fours and a six - mostly on the off side of the pitch - as he was elevated to open the innings for only the third time in his four-year career in the absence of the injured Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Gul got 2-38 while Afridi ended up with 2-56. Host Bangladesh takes on India on Wednesday with first-timer Afghanistan,
the other team in the biennial tournament.