Opener Ibrahim Zadran smashed 106 to set up an emphatic 60-run win for Afghanistan in the opening one-day international against Sri Lanka on Friday.
Afghanistan posted 294-8 after electing to bat as Ibrahim put on key partnerships, including a 118-run partnership with Rahmat Shah, who scored 52, at Palekele.
Afghanistan fast bowlers Fazalhaq Farooqui and Gulbadin Naib shared seven wickets between them as the tourists bowled out Sri Lanka for 234.
Pathum Nissanka’s 85 and Wanindu Hasaranga’s menacing 66 went in vain as Afghanistan ended Sri Lanka’s innings in 38 overs.
But it was the knock that set the tone for Afghanistan’s dominance in the first bilateral ODI series between the two teams.
Ibrahim led the charge with his second ODI century and Najibullah Zadran’s 25-ball 42 boosted the total, but some disciplined bowling eventually checked Afghanistan, who looked set to post 300-plus.
Hasaranga returned impressive figures of 2-42 in the 10 overs.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz justified captain Hashmatullah Shahidi’s decision to bat first as he hit a string of boundaries in his 53.
Ibrahim joined the attack as the pair put on 84 runs to set the batting tone.
Cameos from Najibullah and Naib, who made 22 off 24 balls, eventually countered the bowlers, but Sri Lanka conceded just 31 runs in the last five overs and took five wickets.
The hosts started calmly but regular goals hurt their progress with Naib picking two to shake the top spot.
Nisanka reached his fifty in 42 balls and made 47 runs with skipper Dasun Shanaka falling to Naib.
Faruqi denied Nissanka his pitch but Hasaranga soon hit back to raise hopes of a turnaround.
He smashed Mohammad Nabi for a six and four fours in a 22-run 31st over and brought up his fifty in 31 balls.
Wickets continued to fall and Hasaranga was Farooqui’s last man, finishing with figures of 4-49.
The defeat dented Sri Lanka’s chances of a direct 50-over berth in next year’s World Cup in India, with the Super League points crucial in the series.
The second game is on Sunday at the same place.