Charith Asalanka backs batting friendly pitches in Sri Lanka
Charith Asalanka backs batting friendly pitches in Sri Lanka (Credits:X)

Charith Asalanka was the highest scorer for Sri Lanka in the second ODI of the three-match series against Afghanistan. He missed a well-deserved century as he was stranded on 97 unbeaten smashing nine fours and two sixes. All the Sri Lankan batters from No.3 to No.6 scored a half-century and took the team’s total to 308/6 after Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat first. Charith Asalanka talked about the pitches after the match and asked for such batting-friendly pitches in the subcontinent.

Sri Lanka has won the series already as they won the first two ODIs. The first ODI was even more memorable as the Lankans got their first double centurion in ODI cricket in Pathum Nissanka who smashed an unbeaten 210 off 139 deliveries smashing 20 fours and eight sixes in his innings. Sri Lanka won the first ODI by 42 runs and the second ODI by a massive 155 runs as Wanindu Hasaranga took a four-fer with the ball.

Charith Asalanka talked about how the pitches in Sri Lanka made it a challenge to post a total of over 300 but the concerns regarding slow pitches have been addressed sincerely looking at this series against Afghanistan. The ODI series is being played in Pallekele and the pitches have produced three 300+ totals in two matches that have been played in this series.

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“After we came back from the World Cup, the first thing we spoke about was the pitches. We were generally used to pitches where scoring more than 300 was a challenge. But if we take the pitches we’ve played in this series so far, those concerns seem to have been addressed to a large extent,” said Charith Asalanka after scoring a brilliant 97* in the second ODI.

“Even today, they [Afghanistan] were in a good place in terms of their batting but as they were trying to accelerate I think we bowled well to get them out. But this is how pitches need to be, because when we go to play international tournament[s] we’re generally going to get wickets where you need to score more than 300.

“So to be able to do that we need to have practised in our home conditions. If we do more of that then it’s going to be easier for us to compete in ICC tournaments. More than that I think even our bowlers are starting to learn how to bowl on good batting wickets.”

Sri Lanka Had A Terrible ODI World Cup Campaign In India

Sri Lanka finished ninth out of the ten teams in the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 and was terrible in the entire competition. They lost to the likes of Afghanistan and Bangladesh in the World Cup winning against only two teams that are England and Netherlands. The Indian pitches are generally batting-friendly with a little bit of seam movement under the lights and those massive 300+ totals which were a challenge in Sri Lanka were common in India and were considered chaseable.

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Sri Lanka will face Afghanistan in the third ODI at the Pallekele International Stadium on Wednesday, February 14 and it will be a dead rubber contest as Sri Lanka has already won the series by winning the first two ODIs. The two teams will play a three-match T20I series commencing on February 17, Saturday at the Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium in Dambulla.

This ODI series between the Lankans and the Afghans has been a run fest and the Lankan batters are loving the pitches that are giving them an opportunity to improve their stats. The first ODI saw a double century from the Lankans and two centuries from the Afghans. The second ODI saw four half-centuries from Sri Lanka and two half-centuries from Afghanistan. It will be interesting to see whether Sri Lanka whitewash Afghanistan or the latter make a comeback.