Latest Match Report – Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan One Test 2023/24

Afghanistan 198 and 199 for 1 (Ibrahim 101*, Rahmat 46*, Ashita 1-35) Drill Sri Lanka 439 (Mathews 141, Chandimal 107, Naveed 4-83) by 42 runs

Afghanistan surged back into the Test on the third day, first polishing off Sri Lanka's tail quickly, before Ibrahim Sadran put up big stands with Noor Ali Sadran and Rahmat Shah as he completed a heroic maiden Test century.

Ibrahim and Shah remained unbeaten until the end, meaning Afghanistan had nine wickets remaining as they looked to wipe out the remaining 42 runs from the deficit and establish a lead that would test Sri Lanka. The surface hadn't started to tear up yet and was great for batting. But Afghanistan's attack has two spinners – albeit very inexperienced – who could use what help they can.

Sri Lanka will take away the missed opportunities. With Ibrahim on 39, Prabhat came down the pitch to smash Jayasuriya's delivery straight to the bowler, who blasted it with his fingers and sent it to the boundary for four. While Ibrahim was on 63, opportunities came easily to Nishan Madushka at short intervals. It was hit hard again, but was at a catchable height near his head. He raised his arms but couldn't wrap his fingers around the ball.

Sri Lanka's bowlers were mostly decent, even if they couldn't bring life to the batting pitch. Asida Fernando was the best of them, delivering some excellent short-pitched deliveries as well as some excellent fullers, one of which claimed Afghanistan's only wicket – Noor, for 47 runs.

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But that day belongs to Ibrahim. He hit his outside edge occasionally with the new ball and remained scoreless for 14 balls, but once he got moving, he kept a steady tempo. His first runs were through a glance to the fine-leg boundary, but early in his innings he was mostly strong in the arc between cover and mid-off. There was considerable diet singles around the wicket, between boundaries which came mainly on full and slightly wide balls. Ibrahim took 84 balls to reach his 30th birthday. During his 106-run partnership with Noor, the primary goal seemed to be batting.

The half-century came in the last over before tea and Ibrahim rounded off the evening. He now hits boundaries through long on and midwicket. Sri Lanka tried all sorts of catching men to lure a mistake, but apart from missing the chance on 63 runs, Ibrahim found ways to get ahead without taking risks. He mostly only tried to hit boundaries off poor balls – usually over pitches. He reached his century – Afghanistan's fourth – in the last over of the day.

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