Sri Lanka thrashed Afghanistan by nine wickets in the third match to clinch the ODI series at home on Wednesday, June 7. After a shocking defeat in the first game, the hosts made a sensational comeback with statement wins in the next two games to prove their intentions in the ODI World Cup year.
Dudhmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga shone with a ball to bowl out Afghanistan on just 116 runs while bowling first. Then Sri Lankan openers did easy work on Afghanistan bowlers to clinch an easy win. Hashmatullah Shahidi won the toss for Afghanistan and elected to bat first at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Hambantota. Star pacer Rashid Khan returned to the playing eleven after missing the first two games due to an injury while Sri Lanka welcomed back pacer Lahiru Kumara.
Lahiru made an instant impact on his return with Rahmanullah Gurbaz's wicket in the second over to give the Island Nation a positive start in a series-decider clash. In-form Ibrahim Zadran smashed 22 off 21 as he seemed in a good rhythm to post a big knock. But Kumara continued his good start with Zadran's wicket to add early pressure on Sri Lanka.
Afghanistan's top-order struggled against Sri Lanka's pace attack with Chameera dominating the powerplay overs. Chameera dismissed Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi in powerplay overs and took a valuable wicket of Mohammad Nabi to completely put Sri Lanka in a dominant position. Hasaraga delivered late blows with three wickets while conceding just seven runs to put Afghanistan out of misery on 116 runs in 22.2 overs.
While chasing, openers Pathum Nissanka and Dimuth Karunaratne ensured an early with an 84-run stand for the opening wicket. Nissanka ended his poor run with a bat by smashing 51 off just 34 with eight fours and two sixes. Karunaratne recorded back-to-back fifties as he scored an unbeaten 56 off 45 to help Sri Lanka chase the target in just 16 overs.
Dushmantha Chameera won the Player of the Match award for his 4/63 spell and also bagged the Player of the Series award for taking six wickets in two innings in this series.
"Feel happy to be back after surgery. I worked hard on my fitness and bowling. The first match there was a little bit of pressure having played after 10 months, but I was okay after the first over and got into my rhythm," Chameera said in the post-match presentation.