Charith Asalanka and Wanindu Hasaranga Pic Credits: X (Twitter)

SL vs AFG: Charith Asalanka & Wanindu Hasaranga Excelled In A Crushing Win Over Afghanistan To Seal The Series For Sri Lanka

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Charith Asalanka‘s incredible knock (97* off 74) and Wanindu Hasaranga’s devastating spell (4-27) were the game’s major highlights as Sri Lanka defeated Afghanistan by a margin of 155 runs in the second one-day international in Pallekele. With one game remaining, Sri Lanka was able to secure the series due to the result of the 2nd ODI.

Pitch Report and Toss Update

The Pallekele Cricket Stadium is well known for its superb batting surface, which provides fast bowlers with very little assistance. This fosters the kind of stroke play that makes for a delightful batting experience.

After they settle into a groove and feel comfortable, batters often take advantage of multiple scoring opportunities. So looking at the batting-friendly conditions, Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to put runs on the board first.

Afghanistan bowlers started well in the powerplay to restrict Sri Lankan batsmen from getting a good start

Though not as spectacular as what they did in the previous game, Sri Lanka’s batting display earlier in the afternoon was nonetheless impressive. It appeared like the deck was somewhat drier on the surface as well, so things wouldn’t happen all at once. Nissanka appeared in fine form after Sri Lanka decided to bat, hitting three boundaries in his 17 balls.

However, his attack ended soon when he missed a full and straight one from Omarzai, leaving him out lbw. A couple of overs later, an inept Avishka Fernando was dismissed, reminding us of his three wickets in the previous series against Zimbabwe, as he edged a ball that was angling across straight to point.

This brought Mendis and Samarawickrama together, and they constructed a century stand that brought back structure to the innings. There was some excellent stroke playing in the partnership, but both batters fell in quick succession right as the team was about to shift to top gear. Sri Lanka were 148/4 at the end of the 29th over.

Sri Lanka Batting
Sri Lanka Batting PC: ESPNcricinfo

Charith Asalanka and Janith Liyanage’s partnership helped Sri Lanka post a competitive total

Although Afghanistan saw a chance to undermine Sri Lanka’s batting order, Asalanka and Liyanage had different ideas. They added 111 at better than run-a-ball, keeping the scoreboard ticking over with some calculated batting and clever shot selection. As Asalanka repeatedly switched through the gears to find the fence, Liyanage played second fiddle.

Liyanage brought up his fifty with a lofted six down the ground but fell one ball later, caught at long-on looking to go big once more. Hasaranga made a brief appearance, but Asalanka was the one who put in the most effort behind the scenes. In the death overs, Afghanistan did themselves no favors by dropping both Asalanka and Hasaranga.

The left-hander made sure the hosts had posted a competitive total, even though he was just shy of a deserving century. Omarzai, who bowled 3 for 56, was the best of the Afghan bowlers, but three catches were dropped off Fazalhaq Farooqi’s bowling. Farooqi, Noor Ahmad, and Qais Ahmad all finished with one wicket each.

Afghanistan Bowling
Afghanistan Bowling PC: ESPNcricnfo

Rahmat and Ibrahim kept the scoreboard ticking after a scratchy start

Afghanistan performed admirably in reply to avoid losing a lot of wickets up front. Rahmanullah Gurbaz was out early with a clumsy stay at the wicket, but Shah and Zadran batted steadily to put together a century partnership.

Considering the disastrous breakdown of the top order in the last game, their goal to go deep into the game made sense even though the scoring pace wasn’t very fast. They both collapsed at a point when they needed to pick up a gear to keep the chase going, but their half-centuries steadily provided the platform for the visitors.

Afghanistan Batting
Afghanistan Batting PC: ESPNcricnfo

Afghanistan middle order collapsed against Hasaranga’s magnificent spell

After Asitha Fernando removed Zadran, Hasaranga tricked Shah to expose the Afghanistan batting order. The collapse was so dramatic that Afghanistan’s innings ended after the second-wicket stand was broken in just 45 deliveries. They lost their next eight wickets for just 25 runs as Sri Lanka brought the innings to a close inside 34 overs.

Asitha and Dilshan Madushanka each took two wickets, but Hasaranga ripped through the middle order. Asitha, who was playing in his first ODI after more than a year, and Dilshan Madushanka each got two wickets, while Wanindu Hasaranga claimed figures of four for 27. Pramod Madushan also finished with one wicket to his name.

Sri Lanka Bowling
Sri Lanka Bowling PC: ESPNcricnfo

The series is complete, but there is still one game to go. Sri Lanka will look to make it 3-0, while Afghanistan wants to avoid the whitewash. That game will take place on February 14.

Also Read: IPL 2024: “MS Dhoni will definitely look to have different bowlers away from home”- Sunil Gavaskar has expressed confidence in the Chennai Super Kings’ bowling lineup for the upcoming IPL 2024 season

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