HAMBANTOTA (NewsRadio); Sri Lanka comprehensively defeated Afghanistan by 132 runs in the second one-day-international to square the series 1-1 in Hambantota.
It was Sri Lanka’s biggest win over Afghanistan in ODIs and makes amends for its disappointing performance in the first ODI on Friday, which they lost by six wickets.
Having set Afghanistan a stiff 324-run target, fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera dismissed the dangerous Rahmanullah Gurbaz cheaply for two runs to give his side an early advantage.
Although Afghanistan put together two strong partnerships after that, the required run rate kept climbing and the Afghans lost their way trying to keep pace.
Opening batsman Ibrahim Zadran continued his good form, posting 54 runs while captain Hashmatullah Shahidi top scored with 57 runs, but once Sri Lanka dismissed the top order there was not much resistance from the rest of the batters.
From 146-2, Afghanistan collapsed to be bowled out for 191 runs in 42.1 overs, losing their last eight wickets for just 45 runs.
Earlier Sri Lanka posted 323/6 after opting to bat first.
Vice-captain Kusal Mendis was the mainstay of Sri Lanka’s innings, posting 78 off 75 balls with seven fours and a six.
It was Mendis’ first half-century in seven innings in 2023.
Openers Dimuth Karunaratne (52) and Pathum Nissanka (43) added 82 runs for the first wicket before the arrival of Mendis, who took his time to settle in and then cut loose with some elegant strokes.
It was a crucial half-century for Karunaratne, who is seeking a spot in the side for the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe this month.
Afghanistan are already through to the cricket’s showpiece event in India this year and are testing their combinations.
The third and final game of the series will be played at the same venue on Wednesday.