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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Only Test 2023/24

Lunch Afghanistan 198 and 35 for 0 (Ibrahim 21*, Noor Ali 12*) trail Sri Lanka 439 (Mathews 141, Chandimal 107, Naveed 4-83, Nijat 2-76) by 206 runs

Afghanistan had perhaps their strongest session of the match on the third morning, claiming three Sri Lanka wickets for 29 runs to end the first innings, before their openers took them to 35 for no loss in the 12 overs they faced before lunch.

Although Afghanistan remain 206 runs behind, the surface at the SSC remains largely good for batting, with only the occasional ball taking turn, and the seamers largely unable to extract the zip off the surface they had found on the first day. Both Vishwa and Asitha Fernando did test the Afghanistan openers’ outside edges with their early overs, but seam movement already seemed to be disappearing as lunch approached.

Sri Lanka’s attack is also without debutant Chamika Gunasekara for the rest of the match. Gunasekara was struck on the helmet by a Naveed Zadran bouncer, which ended up flying away for four leg byes. Although he seemed well enough to continue when the initial concussion checks were administered, he began to show visible signs of pain in his head a couple of overs later, and left the field. Kasun Rajitha was quickly approved as a concussion substitute, and has already bowled three overs.

The most important wicket of the morning was the first – that of Sri Lanka’s last recognised batter Sadeera Smarawickrama. Afghanistan’s seamers had kept the first few overs largely quiet, and eventually Naveed tempted Samarawickrama into a drive well away from his body, and drew a thick edge that traveled straight to gully. Samarawickrama was out for 27, having added only six to his overnight score.

The two next wickets were not long in falling. Naveed hit the top of Prabath Jayasuriya’s off stump to claim his fourth wicket, before, next over, Nijat Masood bowled Asitha Fernando first ball, with Asitha having come in after Gunasekara retired hurt.

Naveed’s take for the innings was 4 for 83. Masood and Qais Ahmed claimed two wickets apiece.

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