Both teams unchanged as Afghanistan opt to bat

Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat first for the second time in 48 hours, on a Pallekele surface that looked to both captains as if it would have plenty of runs in it. Often, at this venue, the ball tends to zip around under lights as well – a phenomenon Afghanistan’s quicks used to good effect on Friday, as they tore through Sri Lanka’s batting order.

Both teams have named unchanged XIs. While Afghanistan’s decision to leave their winning combination alone makes sense, Sri Lanka have resisted the the opportunity to field left-arm spinning allrounder Dunith Wellalage in place of seam-bowling allrounder Dhananjaya Lakshan. This is likely because they believe the surface suits a seamer rather than a spinner.

Sri Lanka desperately need Super League points out of this series, with only 62 to their name, with just five matches to go. Afghanistan, meanwhile, could take a big step towards securing an automatic place in next year’s ODI World Cup with a victory here. They are currently on 110 points.

Afghanistan: 1 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), 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 (wk), 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