In a commanding display, Sri Lanka’s middle order, led by Charith Asalanka, propelled the team to a second consecutive 300-plus total, securing a resounding 155-run victory over Afghanistan in the second ODI at Pallekele. The win also sealed the three-match series with one game to spare.
Batting first after winning the toss, Sri Lanka faced early setbacks, losing wickets in pairs. However, they managed to consolidate effectively after each setback, with four batsmen notching fifties. Asalanka anchored the innings superbly, ending unbeaten on 97 off 74 balls. Crucial partnerships, particularly between Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama, as well as Janith Liyanage and Asalanka, bolstered Sri Lanka’s total to 308 for 6.
In response, Afghanistan’s chase started steadily, but tight bowling from the Lankan seamers kept the required rate in check. Despite a promising 97-run partnership between Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmat Shah, Afghanistan’s innings unraveled quickly once Asitha Fernando dismissed Ibrahim. Wanindu Hasaranga starred with the ball, grabbing figures of 4 for 27, while Asitha and Dilshan Madushanka provided crucial support with two wickets each.
Afghanistan’s batting collapse saw them lose their last eight wickets for just 25 runs, ultimately being bowled out for 153 in under 34 overs. Hasaranga’s double-wicket bursts and Madushanka’s crucial strikes were instrumental in dismantling the Afghan batting lineup.
Sri Lanka’s victory was a result of strong partnerships and resilient batting performances, coupled with disciplined bowling efforts. Despite some initial setbacks, they managed to post a challenging total and then defend it convincingly to clinch the series.