Sri Lanka has several headaches ahead of its World Cup qualifiers in two weeks after suffering a heavy six-wicket defeat against Afghanistan on Friday.
Afghanistan beat their target of 269 with 19 deliveries remaining to win the first game of the three-match one-day international series.
With 98 runs, Ibrahim Zadran led the visitors in scoring. During the Power Play, the opening batter took the Sri Lankan quicks to task as he quickly reached his half-century in just 35 balls.
Senior batsman Angelo Matthews also left the game early (12 off 21), while Mujeeb Ur Rahman further dented Sri Lanka by dismissing Nissanka for 38 in the 20th over.
Sri Lanka was reeling at 84 for 4 when Charith Asalanka and Dhanajaya de Silva joined hands. The two added 99 runs for the fifth wicket, with Dhananjaya dominating the partnership with a 59-ball 51. However, he fell in the 38th over, missing a straight delivery from Mohammad Nabi.
After Dhananjaya was dismissed, Sri Lanka’s captain Dasun Shanka slumped for 17 and was eventually released by Noor Ahmad.
Nevertheless, Asalanka persisted and scored 91 runs before being run out in the last over and missing a century.
Afghanistan, which has already qualified for the World Cup in India later this year, was missing standout spinner Rashid Khan, who was sidelined due to a lower back strain.
However, their bowlers came up big, limiting Sri Lanka to a score below par and lessening the burden on the batters.
On Sunday, the teams will play their second ODI.