Kandy, Feb 11 (Daily Mirror) - Sri Lanka secured a commanding victory over Afghanistan in the second One Day International (ODI), triumphing by 155 runs on Sunday, to take the series by 2-0.
With stellar contributions from Charith Asalanka, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, and Janith Liyanage, Sri Lanka posted a formidable total of 308 for 6. Asalanka's remarkable innings, marked by a blistering 97 off 74 balls, played a pivotal role in propelling the team beyond the 300-run mark. His dynamic partnership with Wanindu Hasaranga in the latter overs proved vital, especially after a period of Afghan bowling dominance.
Sri Lanka's innings was characterized by two century partnerships, first between Mendis and Samarawickrama, and then between Liyanage and Asalanka. These partnerships laid a solid foundation for Sri Lanka, setting the stage for a late surge, during which they amassed 96 runs in the final 10 overs.
Afghanistan's fielding woes, including three dropped catches off Fazalhaq Farooqi's bowling, further aided Sri Lanka's cause. Azmatullah Omarzai emerged as Afghanistan's leading bowler with figures of 3 for 56, while Farooqi, Noor Ahmad, and Qais Ahmad also chipped in with a wicket each.
Opting to bat first after winning the toss, Sri Lanka's Pathum Nissanka started aggressively but fell early to Omarzai's bowling. Avishka Fernando's dismissal followed swiftly, reminiscent of his struggles in the recent series against Zimbabwe.
Afghanistan's batting response faltered, collapsing from 143 for 2 to 153 all out in just 4.5 overs. Fernando's crucial breakthrough by dismissing Zadran triggered the collapse, allowing Sri Lanka's bowlers to seize control. Hasaranga's performance, building on his recent success against Zimbabwe, stood out once again.
Sri Lanka's bowlers, led by Hasaranga, put up a comprehensive display, preventing Afghanistan's chase from gaining any momentum. Hasaranga grabbed figures of 4 for 27, while Asitha Fernando - playing his first ODI in over a year - and Dilshan Madushanka had two apiece. Pramod Madushan too finished with one to his name.
The third and final ODI will be played on Wednesday, also in Kandy.
The hosts won the tour's sole Test by 10 wickets. The current series will be followed by three T20 matches, all in Dambulla.