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February 12, 2024
Sri Lanka drubs Afghanistan by 155 runs to clinch series – Charith Asalanka Player of the Match 97 n.o., Wanindu Hasaranga 4/27

Sri Lanka Cricket

By Srian Obeyesekere

Sri Lanka roared to a smashing 155-run win over Afghanistan to take the 3-match ODI series by two straight annihilations with one to go yesterday at the Pallekelle International Cricket Stadium on a brilliant batting and bowling performance with middle order batsman Charith Asalanka playing a lead role unbeaten 97 off 74 balls powered by 9 boundaries and 2 over the top in a total of 308 for 6 off 50 overs, and the dance magic 4-wicket burst by wily leg spinner Wanindu Hasaranga. It was perfected by an upfront sparkling captain’s innings of 61 off 65 by Kusal Mendis inclusive of 6 boundaries and a six, and Sadeera Samarawickrama 52 off 61 with 3 boundaries and Janith Liyanage, in only his third appearance driving it home with a 48-ball 50 inclusive of 2 over the top and across.

It was the ideal script for the host nation in breaking the back of Afghanistan and denting its reputation in the biff bang game to outgunning oppositions by its batting strongpoint which on Sunday came apart in the face of a clinical Lankan bowling attack fronted by Wanindu Hasaranga whose fantastic 4 for 27 haul off 6.5 overs was the nailing point to that victory as the visitors crashed to 153 off 37 overs from a healthy 128 for 2 by off 26.2 overs with the lending atom of the pace duo of Asitha Fernando 2 for 23 and Dilshan Madushanka 2 for 28 in that routing as Afghanistan lost the last 8 wickets for just 25 runs.

Hasaranga hastened Afghanistan’s end in that top order breakthrough of Rahmanullaj Gurbaz for 8 caught behind by Mendis, one drop Rahmat Shah for 63 (69b, 7×4) plumb  leg before wicket after Asitha Fernando had done up Ibrahim Zadran for 54 (76b, 6×4) giving Mendis his second caught behind, and driving it to boot by nailing the Afghanistan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi clean bowling him for a duck in a 4 for 146 torpedo in 29.5 overs that reached its climax with the last 4 wickets crashing for the addition of one run with Hasaranga accounting for two of them finishing it off in 33.5 overs trapping Gulbadin Naib leg before wicket for a duck in the wake of claiming the eighth wicket of Mohammad Nabi  in similar fashion for 1 with Dilshan Madushanka in between claiming successive wickets of Qais Ahmad caught by Nissanka for 1 and Noor Ahmad leg before wicket for a duck.

The Lankan innings on winning the toss reached top gear cornerstone of 139 for 3 after 27.2 overs rallied by a third-wicket 103-bonding fronted by skipper Kusal Mendis and two drop Sadeera Samarawickrama off 115 balls from a shaky start of 1 for 19 by the loss of Pathum Nissanka for 18 leg before wicket to Azmatullah Omarzai in 4 overs, and 2 for 36 after 8.3 overs when Avishka Fernando a Fazalhaq Farooqi victim held by Naib for 5. Shortly after Mendis himself went making it 147 for 4 in 28.3 overs that followed the advent of Charith Asalanka and Janith Liyanage in a fifth-wicket 111 flurry off 98 with the latter departing with the score on 258 for 5 after 44.5 overs. It followed a half century flourish for the next wicket off 25 balls between Asalanka and Wanindu Hasaranga 14 off 13 (2×4) taking Sri Lanka past 300.

It was the second occasion Charith Asalanka had missed a deserving dream century in as many matches following an unbeaten 90 odd in a winning cause against the series against Zimbabwe.


Sri Lanka 308/6 (50 Overs)

(Charith Asalanka n.o. 97, Kusal Mendis 61, Sadeera Samarawickrama 52, Janith Liyanage 50, Pathum Nissanka 18, Wanindu Haaranga 14, Azmatullah Omarzai 3/56, Fazalhaq Farooqi 1/55, Noor Ahmad 1/54, Qais Ahmad 1/55).

Afghanistan 153 (33.5 Overs)

(Rahmat Shah 63, Ibrahim Zadran 54, Wanindu Hasaranga 4/27, Asitha Fernando 2/23, Dilshan Madushanka 2/28, Pramod Madushan 1/37)

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