Sri Lanka celebrate 3-0 sweep against Afghanistan | Cricket News – Times of India



NEW DELHI: Opener Pathum Nissanka cracked a dazzling ton as Sri Lanka completed a clean sweep of the three-match ODI series against Afghanistan in Pallekele on Wednesday.
Chasing 267 for victory in the third and final match, Nissanka fired 101-ball 118 as the hosts registered a comfortable seven-wicket victory with 88 balls to spare.
The hundred was Nissanka’s fifth in ODIs and the second in the series.
Nissanka finished the series with 346 runs, the most by a Sri Lankan in a three-match series.
Roshan Mahanama had posted 267 runs in three ODIs against Zimbabwe in 1994, but Nissanka’s effort is now the highest by a distance.
It is also the fourth highest tally in a three-match series in the world.
Nissanka had posted an unbeaten 210 in the first game, becoming the first Sri Lankan to score a double hundred in ODI cricket.
He also became the fastest Sri Lankan to the 2,000 ODI runs milestone in just 52 innings — breaking the record of Upul Tharanga, who had required 63 innings for the feat.
Nissanka, who said he had had “no idea” he would take the record, said he was “really thankful” to his first coach — his father.
Sri Lanka cruised to the target with the openers adding 173 runs for the first wicket in just 138 deliveries.
Avishka Fernando set the run chase up, reaching his half-century in just 24 balls, with consecutive sixes off Fareed Ahmad.
But he threw away his wicket just nine runs short of a century, and his 91 came off 66 balls with 10 fours and five monstrous sixes.
Nissanka was relatively slow off the blocks, reaching his half-century in 55 balls, but the next 50 came in just 34 balls as Afghanistan’s bowlers ran out of ideas.
Captain Kusal Mendis joined the party, racing to 40 from 29 balls with four sixes.
Nissanka was dismissed for 118 with just 14 runs needed for the win. He faced 101 balls and hit 16 fours and two sixes.
The tourists badly missed their two experienced spinners Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who are out injured.
“The result didn’t go our way,” said skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi. “Sri Lanka played really good cricket in all three departments, so credit goes to them.”
After electing to bat first, Afghanistan’s effort was far from convincing, especially the collapse at the tail end of their innings.
At 223 for four heading into the last 10 overs, a total in excess of 300 was on the cards.
But they lost the last six wickets for just 43 runs, and were bowled out inside 50 overs.
Rahmat Shah (65) and Azmatullah Omarzai (54) posted half-centuries, giving Afghanistan a solid platform, but the middle order caved in without a fight.
Sri Lanka’s Pramod Madushan was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with three wickets, while Asitha Fernando, Dunith Wellalage and Akila Dananjaya finished with two wickets each.
Off-spinner Dananjaya was making a comeback to the side after being forced to remodel his action in 2021 having been reported for a suspect action.
Sri Lanka secured a comfortable 42-run win over Afghanistan in the first ODI, and a convincing 155-run win in the second.
The teams now face a three-match T20 series, opening in Dambulla on February 17.
(With inputs from AFP)



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