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3rd ODI, Hambantota, June 07, 2023, Afghanistan tour of Sri Lanka
(16/50 ov, T:117) 120/1

Sri Lanka won by 9 wickets (with 204 balls remaining)

Player Of The Match
Player Of The Series
6 wkts

Dushmantha Chameera's four wickets leads bowlers' party as Sri Lanka wrap up series

He was helped by Wanindu Hasaranga and Lahiru Kumara, before a blazing fifty by Pathum Nissanka crushed Afghanistan

Dushmantha Chameera gets together with team-mates on dismissing Hashmatullah Shahidi, Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan, 3rd ODI, Hambantota, June 7, 2023

Dushmantha Chameera finished with 4 for 63  •  AFP/Getty Images

Sri Lanka 120 for 1 (Karunaratne 56*, Nissanka 51, Naib 1-19) beat Afghanistan 116 (Nabi 23, Chameera 4-63, Hasaranga 3-7)
Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara blasted out Afghanistan's top order, the spinners took care of the lower order, and then Sri Lanka's top three raced to the target of 117 in 16 overs. It wasn't much of a workout ahead of the World Cup Qualifier, which starts on June 19; but having lost the first match of this series, the resounding nature of their victories to end the series will nevertheless give Sri Lanka some confidence.
Chameera, their key ODI bowler, leaves this series with wickets to his name, having only come back to internationals from a long injury lay-off during the previous match on Sunday. Dimuth Karunaratne, returning to the side after an even longer absence, now has successive fifties to his name, having made 56 not out in this game. Pathum Nissanka struck an encouraging 51 off 34 balls too.
In this game, unlike in the previous one, it was the bowlers who set up the big win. Chief among them was Chameera, who took 4 for 63 - many of those runs coming via edges to the boundary, as he extracted good bounce from the surface at his sharp pace. Although the surface was not particularly bowler-friendly, he frequently got the ball to jag, especially into the right-handers.
Kumara claimed the vital wickets of the openers to finish with 2 for 29, before Wanindu Hasaranga struck blows lower down the order to take 3 for 7. Maheesh Theekshana took the other wicket. All up, Sri Lanka required only 22.2 overs to skittle the opposition. Afghanistan's top score was Mohammad Nabi's 23; six of their batters didn't make it out of single figures.
It was Kumara who made the first breakthrough, having Rahmanullah Gurbaz caught hooking at fine leg in the second over. Gleaning a little movement off the surface, Chameera then made two breakthroughs in the fifth over, having both Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi caught by the wicketkeeper - Shahidi edging one that passed down the legside.
The tottering start became a full-on collapse when Kumara got the big wicket of Ibrahim Zadran with a dream inducker, which pitched just outside off, and jagged in to pass between bat and pad before rattling the stumps. Ibrahim was out for 22, leaving Afghanistan at 48 for 4 in the ninth over. This was only the second time in six consecutive matches against Sri Lanka that Ibrahim fell for less than 50.
When Chameera returned for a second spell, he produced the over of the innings in which he was unfortunate to get only one wicket. First ball, Mohammad Nabi edged him just over slip for four; second delivery, Nabi was dropped by backward point, who got hands to a shin-high chance before grassing it; and third ball, Najibullah Zadran edged towards slip, but the ball bounced short and burst through the fielder's hands to go to the boundary.
But come the fourth ball, Chameera finally had some luck. Chameera seamed a length ball on the stumps, which Zadran tried to play to the leg side, but ended up only sending a leading edge to point, which was easily held this time. Next over, Chameera would get Nabi too, seaming it in to hit him above the knee roll on the front leg. The batter reviewed the out decision, but the ball was projected to hit the top of leg stump.
Of the spinners, Hasaranga was the most effective, two of his three wickets coming from the legbreak. The first one dismissed Rashid Khan, who was playing his first match of the series, as the batter missed a sweep to be struck in front of the stumps. Mujeeb Ur Rahman then edged a Hasaranga delivery to the wicketkeeper, and Fazalhaq Farooqi was the last to go, lbw to the googly.
The chase was straightforward, but rapid. Nissanka got moving in the second over, when he cracked successive square boundaries on either side of the wicket off Fareed Ahmad. Nissanka continued to be aggressive, slamming Mujeeb for six over midwicket in the fourth over, before cutting him through point for four next ball. After five overs, Sri Lanka were 41 for no loss, though Karunaratne had had a little luck, with Rashid failing to hold a tough overhead catch at square leg.
But Nissanka continued to maul Afghanistan, hitting another six over midwicket off Farooqi, as he sped to a 32-ball fifty, completed in the tenth over. He was lbw to Gulbadin Naib first ball after the powerplay ended, but thanks to him, Sri Lanka had made 84 in the first ten overs. Then Karunaratne cruised to the target alongside Kusal Mendis, completing his eighth ODI half century in the 15th over.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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