COLOMBO: Sri Lanka defeated Afghanistan by 10 wickets in their one-off Test match, winning with one day remaining. Their opening batters chased down a manageable total of 56 on Monday in Colombo. After Afghanistan’s second innings was completed, they were bowled out for 296. This gave Sri Lanka the modest target, which was achieved in 7.2 overs by Dimuth Karunaratne (32 not out) and Nishan Madushka (22 not out).
Afghanistan had to catch up after giving up a 241-run advantage in the first innings, but they rallied admirably in the second, Ibrahim Zadran scoring their first-ever Test century to lead the charge. Rahmat Shah supported the opening batsman with a half-century, but Afghanistan collapsed rapidly after both players were out.
Afghanistan performed well with the ball on day two, according to Sri Lanka captain Dhananjaya de Silva, but his team adhered to their game plan. “Although it might not seem like much, Afghanistan felt like they were back in the game when both Angelo Matthews and I got dismissed,” he stated.
That, in my opinion, was the game’s pivotal moment. However, our bowlers adhered to the strategy the entire third day, not allowing any runs and maintaining tight bowling. In Test cricket, Prabath Jayasuriya concluded with his sixth five-wicket haul. Man of the match Jayasuriya remarked, “I’m really happy at the moment, the last couple of days were tough.”
“We were just attempting to do the fundamentals correctly because we knew this was a batting-friendly wicket.” Afghanistan resumed on day four at 199 for one in their second innings, looking strong to take the match to the last day.
But the second new ball stung the Afghans, as six wickets fell for just 52 runs during the morning session. After overnight batsman Rahmat was bowled by seamer Kasun Rajitha for 54, left-arm spinner Jayasuriya exploited the middle order, taking advantage of the bounce and turn of the new ball.
Jayasuriya effectively foxed batters who were playing for turns with his arm ball, which goes straight on. One such delivery bewildered Zadran, who had been batting for over six hours to get his hundred, and he was bowled over the gate.
While seamers Asitha Fernando and Kasun Rajitha shared five wickets between them, Jayasuriya finished with five for 107. After taking three wickets in the first innings, Jayasuriya finished with eight at the end of the match. Afghanistan’s fast bowlers were excellent even though they lost; on his debut, Naveed Zadran claimed four wickets in Sri Lanka’s first innings.
Former captains Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal scored hundreds of runs to lead Sri Lanka to 439 in the first innings. The two shared the highest-scoring partnership at Colombo’s Sinhalese Sports Club for that wicket, a record-breaking 232 runs for the fourth wicket.
Despite mounting a “good comeback,” Afghanistan’s captain, Hashmatullah Shahidi, expressed his disappointment in the team’s defeat. Shahidi stated, “I believe it’s the lack of experience in Test cricket as well as not having many opportunities to play red-ball cricket.” Since we’re new to Test cricket, we’re still learning a lot. I’m hoping this game will teach us something. There was no World Test Championship component to the match. -AFP