Windies fall short in ODI thriller against Sri Lanka
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CMC):
Tail-ender Ajantha Mendis swatted part-time medium pacer Johnson Charles over long on for six to break West Indies' hearts and hand Sri Lanka a dramatic one-wicket victory with seven balls remaining, in the rain-shortened opening one-day international here yesterday.
Chasing 163 in a contest reduced to 26 overs per side because of the adverse weather at the R. Premadasa Stadium, Sri Lanka were cruising at 132 for four in the 19th over and seemingly well on their way to an uncomplicated victory.
However, off-spinner Sunil Narine turned the game on its head when he snatched three wickets in the 19th over and part-time seamer Jonathan Carter (2-14) followed suit, capturing two wickets in the 24th, as the hosts lost five wickets for 20 runs in the space of 33 balls.
With Sri Lanka tottering on 152 for nine, West Indies seemed to have the upper hand, but with seamer Andre Russell earlier restricted to just five balls because of injury, captain Jason Holder was forced to turn to Charles' unpractised medium pace for the penultimate over and the visitors paid the price.
With Sri Lanka needing 11 runs from 12 deliveries, Charles started with a wide, conceded two singles off the next four deliveries before committing the cardinal sin of bowling a front-foot no-ball off the fifth ball, from which Mendis and Suranga Lakmal (one not out) sprinted a couple.
Off the resulting free hit, Mendis ended the game emphatically shortly before to midnight, lifting Charles over the ropes to spare Sri Lanka blushes and hand them a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Earlier, West Indies recovered from a dire position of 42 for four in the 16th over to rally to 159 for eight, after they were sent in.
Russell starred with a shot-filled 41, left-hander Darren Bravo got 38, while Holder gave the innings momentum late on with a cameo 36 off just 13 balls.
Following a delayed start because of rain, seamer Lakmal wrecked the Windies top order to give Sri Lanka the early advantage, removing Charles (1), Andre Fletcher (3) and Marlon Samuels (2) in quick succession.
Charles was trapped lbw on the crease to the ninth ball of the game, Fletcher steered an innocuous delivery to Dilshan at point in the fourth over before the out-of-form Samuels was also lbw, deceived by one that came back in the eighth over.
The rains returned, resulting in a lengthy delay, with West Indies rebuilding at 40 for three after 14.2 overs with Bravo unbeaten on 19 and Carter on eight.
On resumption and with the game now reduced to 26 overs, the Windies stepped on the accelerator.
Carter went early without adding, but Bravo and Russell added 58 off 37 balls in a frenetic fifth wicket partnership to breathe renewed life into the innings.
As he did in Thursday's warm-up game, Russell struck the ball cleanly to count three fours and three sixes off 24 balls, while Bravo faced 58 deliveries and hit three fours and a six.
Both batsmen, along with Carlos Brathwaite (9) fell in the space of 17 balls as West Indies stumbled to 130 for seven in the 25th over. But Holder ended the innings with a flourish, blasting two fours and three sixes in a rollicking knock.
WEST INDIES (26 overs)
A Fletcher c Dilshan b Lakmal 3
J Charles lbw b Lakmal 1
DM Bravo b Mendis 38
M Samuels lbw b Lakmal 2
J Carter b Jayasuriya 8
A Russell c Gunathilaka b Mathews 41
C Brathwaite b Mendis 9
*J Holder run out 36
+D Ramdin not out 9
Extras (lb3, w9) 12
TOTAL (8 wkts, 26 overs) 159
Did not bat: J Taylor, S Narine.
Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Charles, 1.3 overs), 2-13 (Fletcher, 3.3), 3-24 (Samuels, 7.5), 4-42 (Carter, 15.1), 5-100 (Russell, 21.2), 6-113 (Bravo, 22.4), 7-130 (Brathwaite, 24.1), 8-159 (Holder, 26)
Bowling: Malinga 6-1-20-0 (w1), Lakmal 5-0-15-3 (w2), Senanayake 5-0-25-0, Jayasuriya 3-0-15-1, Mendis 4-0-46-2 (w1), Mathews 3-0-35-1 (w1).
SRI LANKA (target: 163 runs from 26 overs)
+K Perera run out 14
T Dilshan c wkp Ramdin b Brathwaite 59
L Thirimanne c wkp Ramdin b Brathwaite 17
*A Mathews c Carter b Taylor 13
D Gunathilaka b Narine 12
M Siriwardana c Brathwaite b Narine 7
S Jayasuriya b Narine 0
S Senanayake b Carter 7
A Mendis not out 21
L Malinga lbw b Carter 0
S Lakmal not out 1
Extras (lb3, w8, nb2) 13
TOTAL (9 wkts, 24.5 overs) 164
Fall of wickets: 1-46 (Perera, 4.5 overs), 2-89 (Thirimanne, 10.2), 3-104 (Dilshan, 12.5), 4-120 (Mathews, 15.4), 5-132 (Siriwardana, 18.1), 6-132 (Jayasuriya, 18.3), 7- 133 (Gunathilaka, 19), 8-152 (Senanayake, 23.3), 9-152 (Malinga, 23.4).
Result: Sri Lanka won by one wicket.
Series: Sri Lanka lead three-match series 1-0.
Man-of-the-Match: Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Toss: Sri Lanka.
Umpires: M Gough, R Palliyaguruge; TV - R Tucker.