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Sri Lanka claw back to level series

Hosts get biggest ODIs win against Afghanistan

June 05, 2023 00:00:00

Sri Lanka's Dasun Shanaka celebrates with teammate Dhananjaya de Silva after taking the wicket of Afghanistan's Rahmat Shah during the second ODI match at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota on Sunday — AFP

HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka, June 04 (AFP): Sri Lanka bounced back to square the three-match one-day international series against Afghanistan on Sunday, with a comprehensive 132-run win at Hambantota.

Having amassed a target of 324, the Sri Lankan bowlers skittled out the tourists for 191 inside 43 overs for their biggest win in ODIs over Afghanistan.

Quick bowler Dushmantha Chameera, returning to the side after a seven-month layoff after ankle surgery, bowled a couple of hostile spells to finish with two for 18.

Sri Lanka will be buoyed by the return of their main strike bowler, as they head to Zimbabwe straight after the series to play World Cup qualifiers.

There are no such problems for Afghanistan, who have already qualified for the World Cup later this year in India. Chameera was well backed up by part-time off-spinner Dhananjaya de Silva, who finished with three wickets, including first-match hero Ibrahim Zardan.

Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga polished up the tail claiming three for 42.

Zardan, who had top scored in the first ODI with 98 runs, was again amongst the runs with 54. But the scoreboard pressure got to him as he edged an attempted cut shot that was well taken by Kusal Mendis behind the stumps.

Captain Hashmatullah Shahidi top scored with 57 runs, before being trapped leg before by de Silva.

After that, there was little resistance by the Afghan batters as they lost six wickets for 23 runs. Sri Lanka came into the game making four changes, having lost the first ODI by six wickets on Friday. Openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Pathum Nissanka had added 82 runs for the first wicket, with Karunaratne on a comeback trial doing well to post 52 off 62 balls.

Kusal Mendis then upped the tempo with a superb counter-attack, posting 78 off 75 balls with seven fours and one six.

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