Afghanistan batters helped their side to reduce the deficit to 42 runs against Sri Lanka on the third day of the one-off Test played at Sinhalese Sports Club hereon Sunday. At stumps on Day 3, Afghanistan are 199/1 with Ibrahim Zadran unbeaten on 101 runs with the help of 11 fours and Rahmat Shah is unbeaten on 46 runs which is laced by five boundaries. The visitors still trail by 42 runs in this match.
The hosts resumed the third day from 410/6 with Sadira Samawickrama and debutant Chamika Gunasekara on the crease. Both of the batters put on a partnership of 17 runs before the former was dismissed after scoring 27 runs with the help of four boundaries and a six on the bowling of Naveed Zadran.
Gunasekara was forced to retired hurt after he was hit on the head when he was playing at the score of 16. The No.8 batter tried to duck underneath the bouncer, but the low bounce saw him hit flush on the helmet. Right-arm seamer Kasun Rajith was elected as his concussion substitute but he did not come to bat as Gunasekara was retired hurt.
Inside 12 runs, the Islanders lost their last two wickets. First, they lost the wicket of Prabhath Jayasuriya when the team score was 435 runs and then the team lost the wicket of Asith Fernando when the team score was 439 runs.
Asitha Fernando breaks the sturdy opening partnership:
After the Sri Lankan side was bundled out for 439 runs, the Afghan openers Ibrahim Zadran and Noor Ali Zadran came into bat for the second time in the match. Both the batters put on a marvellous partnership of 106 runs before the latter fell to Asitha Fernando after scoring 47 runs with the help of five boundaries.
After Noor Ali's dismissal, Rahmat came into the crease to support Ibrahim. Both the batters have put up an unbeaten partnership of 93 runs so far after the completion of Day 3.
Earlier on the second day of the Test match, Sri Lanka openers Dimuth Karunaratne [42*] and Nishan Madushka [36*] resumed the proceedings for the hosts from 80/0. Both batsmen scored only 13 runs on the second day, as Madhushka was dismissed at 93 runs after scoring 37 runs.
Sri Lanka lost their second wicket when Kushal Mendis was dismissed for just 10 runs. The third wicket fell at 143 runs when Karunaratne departed after scoring 77 runs.
After the fall of three wickets, experienced cricketers Mathews and Chandimal built a partnership of 232 runs before the latter fell to spinner Qais Ahmad after scoring 141 runs with 14 fours and three sixes.
Mathews also played a brilliant innings, scoring 107 runs with 10 fours and a six.
For Afghanistan, the pick of the bowlers were Naveed and Qais, who have taken two wickets each. Nijat Masood took one wicket in his 16-over spell, conceding 59 runs.
Afghanistan 198 & 199/1 (Ibrahim Zadran 101, Noor Ali Zadran 47, Asitha Fernando 1/35) vs Sri Lanka 439 (Angelo Mathews 141, Dinesh Chandimal 107, Naveed Zadran 4/83).