HARARE, Zimbabwe – West Indies recovered from a batting collapse to mount a clinical bowling effort, and beat Sri Lanka by 62 runs in their opening game of the Tri-Nations Series Wednesday.
It was a welcome end to their losses in the shorter formats of the game, having been recently beaten 3-0 in the ODI series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, to add to a 3-0 T20 series loss as well.
Sent in at the Harare Sports Club, West Indies were well poised at 172 for four in the 42nd over before losing their last six wickets for 55 runs, to be all out for a disappointing 227 off 49.2 overs.
Barbadian left-hander Jonathan Carter top-scored with 54 on his 29th birthday while wicketkeeper Shai Hope stroked 47 and fellow debutant Rovman Powell, a typically enterprising 44 off just 29 balls.
In reply, Sri Lanka slumped to 16 for three in the sixth over, recovered to reach 139 for six in the 26th before crumbling to 165 all out off 43.1 overs – losing their last four wickets for 26 runs.
The architects of Sri Lanka’s demise were fast bowler Shannon Gabriel (3-31) and off-spinner Ashley Nurse (3-46), while captain and seamer Jason Holder claimed two for 16 from eight superb overs.
Sachith Pathirana, batting at number eight, top-scored with 45 from 40 balls while Shehan Jayasuriya made 31 and Niroshan Dickwella, 28.
With the victory, West Indies moved to the top of the table on five points, ahead on net run rate of Sri Lanka also on five points, with Zimbabwe yet to register a point.
The Caribbean side’s start was less than impressive, however, as they lost both openers Johnson Charles (2) and Kraigg Brathwaite (14) cheaply to stumble to 27 for two in the tenth over. Charles was taken at third man off seamer Suranga Lakmal essaying a big hit in the fourth over and Brathwaite was unfortunately run out by Nuwan Kulasekara’s direct hit at the non-striker’s end as he went through for a quick single.
Hope and Carter then featured in key partnerships which put the West Indies innings back on track. The right-handed Hope first added 49 for the third wicket with the left-handed Evin Lewis, whose 27 came from 50 balls and included a single four.
When Lewis was caught at the wicket off left-arm spinner Sachith Pathirana in the 24th over, Hope put on a further 53 for the fourth wicket with Carter, to take West Indies past triple figures.
Hope faced 81 deliveries and struck four fours and a six while the left-handed Carter’s second ODI half-century came from 62 balls and included two fours and two sixes. Hope had just cleared the ropes at long on with slow medium Asela Gunaratne and was eyeing a half-century when he was deceived and bowled four deliveries later by the same bowler, at 129 for four in the 35th over.
Carter and Powell kept the momentum going in a busy 43-run, fifth wicket stand off 41 deliveries, with Carter reaching his landmark in the 41st over with a couple to fine leg. He perished in the next over when he flicked seamer Kulasekara into the lap of deep square leg and it was left to Powell to blast two fours and three sixes, to get West Indies up to a competitive total.
Man-of-the-Match Holder then struck early for Windies, having Dhananjaya de Silva caught behind off an inside edge for three at seven in the fourth over.
Kusal Perera fell in the next over for four via the run out route with one run added, failing to beat Charles’s throw to the non-striker’s end from square leg, as he advanced down for a single.
When Holder induced a drive from Kusal Mendis and had the right-hander caught high at second slip by Nurse for four, Sri Lanka were declining quickly.
Dickwella revived the innings briefly in a 35-run, fourth wicket stand with Upul Tharanga (12) before guiding a short ball from Gabriel to Sulieman Benn at third man, and his dismissal triggered another slide which saw three wickets tumble for 28 runs.
Tottering on 79 for six in the 26th over, Sri Lanka regained their balance thanks to Pathirana and Jayasuriya who posted 60 for the seventh wicket.
Pathirana was the aggressor, hammering five fours and two sixes and once he holed out to Lewis at long-off off Nurse in the 38th over, the innings collapsed.