Both teams unchanged as Afghanistan opts to hit

Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bat first for the second time in 48 hours, on a Pallekele surface that both captains thought would hold plenty of runs. Often at this location, the ball also tends to spin under lights, a phenomenon Afghanistan’s rapids used to good effect on Friday as they tore up Sri Lanka’s batting order.

Both teams have named XI without changes. While Afghanistan’s decision to leave their winning combination alone makes sense, Sri Lanka has balked at the chance to field Dunith Wellalage, a left-arm spin all-rounder, in place of all-rounder Dhananjaya Lakshan. This is likely because they believe the surface accommodates a seamer rather than a rotary.

Sri Lanka is in desperate need of Super League points from this series, with just 62 to their credit, with just five games to go. Meanwhile, Afghanistan could take a big step towards securing an automatic place in next year’s ODI World Cup with a win here. They are currently at 110 points.

Afghanistan: 1 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (week), 2 Ibrahim Zadran, 3 Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), 4 Najibullah Zadran, 5 Mohammad Nabi, 6 Rahmat Shah, 7 Gulbadin Naib, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 10 Fazalhaq Farooqi, 11 Yamin ahmadzai

Sri Lanka: 1 Kusal Mendis (week), 2 Pathum Nissanka, 3 Dinesh Chandimal, 4 Dhananjaya de Silva, 5 Charith Asalanka, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt), 7 Dhanajaya Lakshan, 8 Wanindu Hasaranga, 9 Maheesh Theekshana, 10 Kasun Rajitha, 11 Lahiru kumara

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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