February 29, 2024

Pathum Nissanka became the first Sri Lankan to score an ODI double century, powering the hosts to an immense 381 against Afghanistan at Pallekele in their series opener on Friday. The opener finished unbeaten on 210 to break the island nation’s longstanding record of 189 by Sanath Jayasuriya against India in 2000. It was also the joint fifth-highest individual score in ODIs. Sri Lanka’s 381-3 was also their highest at the ground and the team’s fourth-highest on record.¬†

The unstoppable Nissanka’s knock included 20 fours and eight sixes from the 139 balls he faced in his first ODI since the World Cup. Avishka Fernando was dismissed for 88 after he was caught by Ibrahim Zadran at backward point in the 27th over.

Skipper Kusal Mendis took the crease next but failed to make an impact and fell for 16. Sadeera Samarawickrama smashed 44 off 36 deliveries in his 120-run partnership with Nissanka.

Fareed Ahmad claimed the wickets of Samarawickrama and Fernando to be the pick of the bowlers with 2-79.

Earlier, Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bowl first Friday in the opener of their three match one-day international matches against Sri Lanka at Pallekele.

The visitors opted to play four seamers for the game with all-rounder Rashid Khan left out of the squad last month to recover from back surgery.

Sri Lanka’s Pramod Madushan was chosen ahead of bowling all-rounder Chamika Karunaratne.

The hosts won the tour’s sole Test by 10 wickets and the current series will be followed by three T20 matches, all in Dambulla.¬†

Sri Lanka: Kusal Mendis (capt, wk), Pathum Nissanka, Avishka Fernando, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Janith Liyanage, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Dilshan Madushanka, Dushmantha Chameera, Pramod Madushan.

Afghanistan: Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), Ibrahim Zadran, Ikram Alikhil, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Rahmat Shah, Azmatullah Omarzai, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Nabi, Fareed Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Noor Ahmad.

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