KANDY: In the first of their three-match one-day international series, Sri Lanka defeated Afghanistan by 42 runs on Friday thanks to a record-breaking double century from Pathum Nissanka at Pallekele.
Afghanistan, facing a formidable target of 382, managed to reach 339 for six thanks to centuries from Mohammad Nabi and Azmatullah Omarzai, following their team’s 55-5 downfall. Sri Lanka’s first ODI double hundred came from Nissanka’s undefeated 210, shattering the island nation’s long-standing record-high score of 189 set by Sanath Jayasuriya against India in 2000.
In ODIs, it was also tied for the fifth-highest individual score. Reporters were informed by Sri Lankan seamer Pramod Madushan, “We are absolutely thrilled with that performance.” It’s wonderful to be present in the dressing room during this momentous occasion.
“Though it was difficult there, Pathum did a great job of absorbing the pressure and leading us to victory.” The team’s fourth-highest total overall and their largest at the ground was 381-3 for Sri Lanka. In his first ODI since the World Cup, the unstoppable Nissanka hit eight sixes and twenty fours out of the 139 balls he faced.
Afghanistan lost five wickets in nine overs as they faltered early in their difficult chase. Madushan scored match statistics of 4-75 by breaking through the top order. Despite taking the other two wickets, Dushmantha Chameera left the field midway through his ninth over, claiming to be experiencing back pain.
To momentarily give Sri Lanka a scare, Omarzai (149 not out) and Nabi (136) struck back with an aggressive 242-run stand for the sixth wicket, Afghanistan’s second-highest for any wicket in ODIs. Omarzai scored his first century after Janith Liyanage, a pacer, was flicked for six.
Avishka Fernando scored 88 runs in as many deliveries during Sri Lanka’s innings until Ibrahim Zadran caught him at backward point in the 27th over. The next man in, skipper Kusal Mendis, failed to make an impression and was dismissed for a 31-ball 16. With Nissanka, Sadeera Samarawickrama amassed 120 runs in 36 deliveries, hitting 44 runs. -AFP