In the second one-day international (ODI) match against Afghanistan on Sunday, Sri Lanka chose to bat first and amassed a total of 308 runs for the loss of six wickets, buoyed by four impressive half-centuries from their batters.
Following the early dismissal of their openers, Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama took charge, stabilizing the innings with a partnership of 103 runs for the third wicket. Despite benefiting from dropped catches, both players fell within a span of eight deliveries. Samarawickrama, after contributing 52 runs, was caught at mid-wicket by Mohammad Nabi, providing Afghanistan with a breakthrough. Mendis, having scored 61 runs, was caught trying to clear the fielder at deep mid-wicket, as he took on Azmatullah Omarzai, who clinched three wickets.
Charith Asalanka and Janith Liyanage further bolstered Sri Lanka’s innings with a formidable 111-run partnership for the fifth wicket, achieved in 98 deliveries. Liyanage marked his second half-century in ODIs with a straight six off Noor Ahmad, but unfortunately, he was dismissed on the very next ball. His fifty came off 48 deliveries, featuring two boundaries and two sixes.
Asalanka showcased his prowess, steering Sri Lanka to the 300-run mark with a boundary in the final over. His unbeaten knock of 97 runs from 74 deliveries, embellished with nine fours and two sixes, significantly contributed to Sri Lanka’s commanding total.
However, Afghanistan’s fielding performance was marked by lapses, with the team dropping as many as five catches, which proved costly.
With this victory, Sri Lanka leads the three-match series 1-0. The third and final ODI is scheduled for Wednesday, to be held in Kandy. Sri Lanka previously secured a victory in the tour’s sole Test match by 10 wickets. Following the conclusion of the current ODI series, three T20 matches will follow, all set to take place in Dambulla.