Cricket news roundup – 24th February 2019: Sri Lanka, Afghanistan create history

Cricket news roundup – 24th February 2019: Sri Lanka, Afghanistan create history

Sri Lanka became the first Asian nation (and the third team overall) to win a Test series on South African soil. After winning a thriller at Kingsmead, Durban by 1 wicket, they strolled to an 8-wicket victory in the decider, at St George's Park, Port Elizabeth.

Elsewhere, in Dehradun, Afghanistan shattered many a record at Dehradun - including the highest ever T20 score and the highest ever partnership in the format - to thrash Ireland.

In other news, Virat Kohli has let know of his wariness before the World Cup, and Quetta Gladiators and Islamabad United notched up wins in two PSL matches of near-identical scorelines.

Fernando, Mendis ensure easy win

Sri Lanka were slightly in advantage when they finished Day Two of the Port Elizabeth Test. Chasing 197, they were 60/2. On the third morning, Oshada Fernando (75 not out) and Kusal Mendis (84 not out) ensured there were no hiccups. They took less than 30 overs to secure the required runs.

Sri Lanka became the third team, after England and Australia, to win a Test series on South African soil. Since their readmission to Test cricket in 1992-93, this was the second time South Africa finished a home series without a win.

Zazai, Ghani enter record books

Afghanistan took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the 3-T20I series against Ireland, at Dehradun, but the series win almost paled into insignificance when compared to the records they set.

Batting first, Afghanistan raced to 50 in 31 balls, 100 in 54, 150 in 72, and 200 in 93 before their first wicket fell. Hazratullah Zazai and Usman Ghani added 236 for the opening partnership in just 105 balls, a new world record for any wicket in any T20. They went past the world record of 229, set by Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in 2016.

Ghani fell for a 48-ball 73, but Zazai carried on, finishing on 162 not out in 62 balls (only Aaron Finch has a bigger T20I score). He hit 16 sixes, a T20I record, while Afghanistan's 278/3 is a record in all T20 cricket.

In response, Paul Stirling (91 in 50 balls) and Kevin O'Brien (37 in 25) added 126 in 71 balls, but it was never going to be enough. Afghanistan won by 84 runs.

Kohli "wary of the bad habits"

In the pre-series post-conference, Virat Kohli admitted to being wary of "the bad habits that might creep in during the IPL". He mentioned how keen he was on having a team of 15 confident members for the World Cup, and how a "consistent effort" during the IPL is necessary for that.

Kohli also let know that "more ODIs ahead of the World Cup would have been logical", while pointing out how contemporary tour structures leave the organisers with little option.

Quetta, Islamabad clinch wins

Lahore Qalandars and Karachi Kings both scored 143, batting first, in the two PSL matches at Sharjah - and both lost.

Qalandar put up 143/7 thanks to AB de Villiers's unbeaten 45. De Villiers shepherded the team despite receiving little support from the other end. Ghulam Mudassar picked up 3/21.

Ahsan Ali provided Quetta Gladiators with a brisk start before they started losing wickets. Having to defend 7 off the final over, David Wiese conceded only 5 off the first 5 balls before Sarfraz Ahmed (52 not out in 36) lofted him into the stands over long-on.

Faheem Ashraf (3/36) reduced the Kings to 78/6 in the 14th over before Ben Dunk (49* in 32) and Aamer Yamin (35* in 19) carried them to the relative safety of 143/6. It was never going to be enough against Luke Ronchi (67* in 35) and Samit Patel (45* in 30). United won with 23 balls to spare.