Asghar Afghan
Asghar Afghan (AFP Photo)

Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan won the toss and opted to bat first in what is a must-win encounter for Sri Lanka in the third match of the Asia Cup 2018 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Sri Lanka have to beat Afghanistan to keep their hopes of making it to the next round alive after suffering a thrashing at the hands of Bangladesh in the tournament opener on Saturday.

Sri Lanka have rung in three changes to their playing XI. Offspinner Akila Dananjaya along with Shehan Jayasuriya and Dushmantha Chameera have been included while Amila Aponso, Dilruwan Perera and Suranga Lakmal have been dropped.

Asghar put faith in his bowlers to defend, saying Afghanistan are familiar with the conditions. “(We) want to put runs on the board and then defend it with our bowling. Seems like too much grass but we are used to playing in these conditions. We know the conditions well,” he said at the toss.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said he would have batted first as well and said the three changes have been made keeping in mind the conditions.

“I was going to have a bat first as well. Looks a good pitch, decent covering of grass and should hold on well. Looks good to bat but you cannot win all the tosses. Crucial to go out there and have some fun. Lasith Malinga was terrific last game and hopefully he can contribute to a winning cause today,” he said.

Playing XIs

Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews (captain), Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Malinga, Dushmantha Chameera

Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Ihsanullah Janat, Rahmat Shah, Gulbadin Naib, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan (captain), Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman