Windies slip to series defeat

February 27, 2020
Hope ... top scorer with 51.
Hope ... top scorer with 51.

HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka, CMC :

Avishka Fernando and Kusal Mendis belted hundreds as an uninspired West Indies suffered their heaviest ever defeat to Sri Lanka in Wednesday's second one-day international, to concede the three-match series and extend their disappointing record of never having won a series on Sri Lankan soil.

Asked to complete their highest ever successful chase in pursuit of 346 at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, West Indies crumbled for 184 in the 40th over, to surrender by 161 runs and fall 2-0 behind in series.

In-form opener Shai Hope top-scored with 51 and left-hander Nicholas Pooran chipped in with 31 but West Indies collapsed from 131 for three in the 29th over to lose their last seven wickets for just 53 runs in quick time.

They were taken apart by enterprising leg-spinner Wanindu Hararanga who snatched three for 30 from his 10 overs, and cunning left-arm spinner Lakshan Sandakan who finished with three for 57.

Man-of-the-Match Fernando, with 127 off 123 balls with 10 fours, and Mendis with a run-a-ball 119 and 12 fours, had earlier pummeled West Indies to propel the home side to 345 for eight off their 50 overs.

When left-arm speedster Sheldon Cottrell (4-67) struck in successive deliveries in the third over to reduce Sri Lanka to nine for two, the Caribbean side looked to be establishing an early grip on the contest.

But Fernando and Mendis paired in a rollicking, record 239-run, third-wicket stand to all but dash West Indies' hopes of staying in the series, following their opening defeat last Saturday.

Tenth loss

The loss was the Windies' 10th to Sri Lanka in their last 12 meetings and put them on course for another series whitewash at the hands of the Asian side, following a similar result five years ago here.

Captain Dimuth Karunaratne (1) slapped Cottrell into Fabian Allen's lap at point and Kusal Perera nicked the very next ball behind, to leave Windies with a dream start after they opted to bowl. And in the next over, pacer Jason Holder found Mendis's edge only for captain Kieron Pollard to floor the sitter at first slip, to let off the right-hander after he had managed only two.

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