Sri Lanka suffer early Asia Cup exit

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Sri Lanka's impressive showing across the recent tri-series in Australia promptly took a back seat to three defeats on the trot as they crashed out of the 2012 Asia Cup on Thursday.

Sri Lanka's impressive showing across the recent tri-series in Australia promptly took a back seat to three defeats on the trot as they crashed out of the 2012 Asia Cup.

Triumphant over world champions India on more than the odd occasion and consistently stronger than the number one-ranked Aussies before failing at the final hurdle Down Under, Mahela Jayawardene's men have since slipped to two losses in three days.

Pakistan, meanwhile, are all but assured of a berth in the tournament final on the back of victory over Bangladesh last week and Thursday's success over Sri Lanka.

Their latest win was largely built on the back of a superb showing by their seamers and a 153-run stand between captain Misbah-ul-Haq (72 not out) and his sidekick, Umar Akmal (77).

The duo shrugged off an early brace from Suranga Lakmal, which put the initial skids under the pursuit, to ensure victory with all of 10.1 overs to spare – and the bonus point. Provided the Tigers don't upset India on Friday, Misbah and company are assured of a spot in next week's final.

Sri Lanka's bowling was largely predictable, and they'll rue leaving Rangana Herath out of their squad. His left-arm spin would have brought a threatening dynamic to the otherwise one-dimensional ranks.

Man of the Match Misbah and Umar had little trouble in amassing 16 fours and a trio of sixes between them and were certainly aided when Lahiru Thirmanne dropped the latter in the deep.

With the finish line in sight, the skipper boasted the vigilance to remain unbeaten, but Akmal couldn't resist going big, only to perish off a big top edge. Hammad Azam, though, was quickly at hand to strike the winning boundary down the ground.

Earlier Jayawardene's choice to bat first didn't go according to plan as they slumped to 188 all out in Dhaka.

The relatively early dismissals of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Jayawardene were key to the Pakistan cause, which then worked around half-centuries from Kumar Sangakkara (71) and Upul Tharanga (57) to get the better of the rest of the order at every turn.

While Umar Gul built the pressure with his economical figures of two for 20 from eight overs, including his 150th ODI scalp, fellow seamer Aizaz Cheema and spinner Saeed Ajmal finished the job with four for 43 an three for 27 respectively.

Pakistan enjoyed a superb day in the field, typified by Younis Khan's outstanding catch in the slips to get rid of the in-form Dinesh Chandimal for a duck. The Sri Lankans, meanwhile, put in some shoddy shot selection, exemplified by Sankakkara's rush of blood to the head in the 43rd over.

Tuesday will bring Sri Lanka the opportunity to secure a closing consolation win over Bangladesh, before they head home to focus on a two-Test series against the visiting English.

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