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Nissanka posts Sri Lanka's first double century in ODIs in win over Afghanistan

PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka (AP) — Opening batter Pathum Nissanka scored Sri Lanka's first double century in a one-day international as they held off Afghanistan by 42 runs in a high-scoring match on Friday.

Nissanka's unbeaten 210 from 139 balls propelled Sri Lanka to 381-3. Afghanistan boldly chased with centuries by Azmatullah Omarzai and Mohammad Nabi but finished on 339-6.

A total of 720 runs were scored with only nine wickets falling.

Sri Lanka was made to bat first and Nissanka celebrated his 50th ODI by hitting eight sixes and 20 boundaries. His previous best score was 137 against Australia in 2022, his only other ODI century at home. Sri Lanka's previous highest ODI score was 189 by Sanath Jayasuriya in 2000.

Nissanka and Avishka Fernando opened with 182 runs in 27 overs.

Fernando's run-a ball 88 ended a lean patch with the bat. His best score in the last eight innings was 20.

En route to his fourth ODI hundred, Nissanka added 120 runs in 12 overs with Sadeera Samarawickrama, who scored 45, for the third wicket.

Nissanka reached the double century in the 50th over with a boundary past backward point, his 19th. He finished the innings with his 20th boundary and registered the joint fifth highest score in ODI history.

Afghanistan's reply made a woeful start at 55-5 inside nine overs. Sri Lanka seamer Pramod Madushan had a three-wicket first spell.

But Omarzai with 149 not out and Nabi with 136 fought hard to put pressure back on Sri Lanka.

Omarzai’s maiden ODI century came off 115 deliveries and included six sixes and 13 boundaries.

Their partnership of 242 runs ended after Nabi achieved his second ODI ton. Struggling with cramps in the humid conditions, Nabi was Madushan's fourth wicket. Nabi's 136 off 130 balls included three sixes and 15 boundaries.

The second match of the three-match series is on Sunday.

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AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket