In the third and final ODI between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, the hosts came up on top in a thrilling contest to register a memorable victory and level the series.

Chasing 314, Sri Lanka got off to a good start with openers Pathum Nissanka (35) and Kusal Mendis (67) adding over a hundred runs for the first wicket, but they played slowly. The spin attack of Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan started creating problems, with Rashid, in particular, destroying the middle order. The spin duo reduced Sri Lanka to 164/4 in 30.3 overs.

Then Charith Asalanka and captain Dasun Shanaka calmed things down by adding a crucial partnership of 79 runs for the fifth wicket. However, Rashid again brought back Afghanistan by removing Shanaka and Wanindu Hasaranga as the Islanders were reeling at 249/6 after 43.1 overs, with Asalanka soldiering on with a cramp.

However, an unlikely hero emerged in the form of youngster Dunith Wellalage, who accelerated the run flow by smashing a few boundaries when Sri Lanka looked out of the chase. Asalanka, on the other hand, continued chipping the runs and took Sri Lanka over the finish line with a winning six over deep mid-wicket, playing a splendid knock of 83 unbeaten off 72 balls.

Earlier, Ibrahim Zadran, who had smashed a tremendous hundred in the series opener, once again shined with the bat and hit another century. The Afghan opener scored 162 off 138 balls, including 15 fours and 4 sixes, as the tourists ended up reaching 313/8 in their allotted 50 overs.

“Really happy with this performance. We were behind this chase, but we came out of it strong. I believe in my captain, he’s a magnificent player, and his 40-odd runs were very helpful. I believed all the way, I know Wella (Wellalage) is a good player. The leg is better now, but at some stages, I thought if I must come out. Glad I fought through it,” said Asalanka after the match.

Here is how Twitter reacted:

#Twitter #reactions #Charith #Asalanka #stars #Sri #Lankas #serieslevelling #win #Afghanistan


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