MIRPUR, Bangladesh (AP) — Kumar Sangakkara hit a half century Monday and led Sri Lanka to 253-6 against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup.
Sangakkara, who made a half century against Pakistan and a century against India in Sri Lanka's previous two victories, held the innings together with 76 off 102 balls with a six fours and a six on a slow wicket against some tidy bowling.
Afghanistan had restricted Sri Lanka at 171-5 by the 40th over when Dinesh Chandimal (28) was clean bowled and Sangakkara was run out in successive overs before captain Angelo Mathews (45 not out) put on 69 runs with Thisara Perera off 49 balls.
Medium fast Mirwais Ashraf got the prized wickets of Kusal Perera (33) and Mahela Jayawardene (14) to end up with 2-29.
Sri Lanka's top order struggled on a dual paced wicket after Mathews won the toss and elected to bat first.
Left-arm fast bowler Shapoor Zadran had Lahiru Thirimanne's leg stump uprooted off a delivery which swung in on the left-hander and Perera played onto Ashraf's delivery back onto his stumps.
Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi conceded only seven runs in his four overs and also deployed eight bowlers within the first 26 overs that kept the scoring rate under check.
Jayawardene's poor run of form continued when he was well caught by Nabi at mid-on before Sangakkara and Chandimal put on 74 runs off 93 balls to put the innings back on track.
Afghanistan struck through left-arm spinner Hamza Hotak in the second batting powerplay when he had Chandimal clean bowled.
Sangakkara, who was dropped on 62 by Dawlat Zadran off his own bowling and wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad missed out on a run out when the left-hander had reached 75, was run out in a mixup with Mathews as Afghanistan hit twice in space of one run.
Mathews ensured Sri Lanka avoided more hiccups by hitting four boundaries in his 41-ball knock and get the total past the 250 mark.
Zadran had to be taken out of the attack for bowling second beamer in the innings in the last over before Nabi completed his over.