HAMBANTOTA (NewsRadio); Sri Lanka posted a mammoth 323/6 in their 50 overs after opting to bat first against Afghanistan in the second one-day international in Hambantota.
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.
Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama added 88 runs for the third wicket. Samarawickrama is playing in his first game in more than three years and their partnership helped Sri Lanka consolidate after a good start.
Samarawickrama was dismissed for 44 but Mendis went on top score before being spectacularly caught by wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz off the bowling of Fareed Ahmad.
Some big hitting by Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya de Silva and Wanindu Hasaranga helped Sri Lanka pass 300, a potentially match-winning score, with 109 runs posted in the last 10 overs.