Avishka Fernando and Kusal Mendis flogged the West Indies bowling attack to the tune of centuries as Sri Lanka coasted to a resounding 161-run win with the visitors caving in for 184 in the second Day Night match on Wednesday to take an unassailable 2-nil lead in the 3-match series at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Sooriyawewa, Hambantota.
Opening batsman Fernando, who watched his captain Dimuth Karunaratne removed by Cottrell for 1 and Kusal Janith Perera for a first ball duck by the same bowler with Sri Lanka reeling on 9 for 2, struck a brilliant 127 off 123 balls inclusive of 10 boundaries, and Mendis a run a ball 119 containing 12 boundaries in a record third wicket alliance of 239 runs as Sri Lanka piled up a massive 345 for 8 wickets in 50 overs after being put into bat.
Fernando, who was adjudged Player of the Match, was in devastating form following up on his half century in the first ODI while Mendis was equally aggressive in sounding a return to his old form. He was the first to exit with the total on 248 while Fernando followed next with the total on 271 in the second ball of the 43rd over while Angelo Mathews was bowled second ball for 1 by Joseph making it 5 for 274. The sixth wicket pair of Thisara Perera, who was promoted to No.5, and Dhananjaya de Silva took Sri Lanka past 300 putting on 29 runs with the latter exiting for 12 off 5. Perera continued the run assault into the death overs striking 36 off 25 balls with 4 boundaries and was seventh out with the total on 316 off the third ball of the 44th over which brought the hero of the first match Wanidu Hasaranga to the middle as he struck 17 off 10 with 3 boundaries in adding 29 for the eighth wicket with Isuru Udana who remained unbeaten on 17 off 9 with 2 boundaries.
The West Indies found the tall target of 346 runs for victory too much to cope with despite openers Shai Hope and Sunil Ambris putting on 64 runs in 12.2 overs and precipitated after the partnership was broken by the run out of Ambris to a fine throw by Mathews to Udana at the non strikers end. Hope top scored with 51 off 65 hitting 5 boundaries before being second out with the score 93 by Angelo Mathews off the first ball of the 21st over to a catch by Karunaratne. Doing the damage with the ball for Sri Lanka was Hasaranga with his wily leg breaks claiming 3 for 30 while Lakshan Sandakan took 3 for 57 and speedster Nuwan Pradeep 2 for 37.
Sri Lanka 345/8 (50 Overs) Run rate: 6.9 (W.I.A. Fernando 127, B.K.G. Mendis 119, N.L.T.C. Perera 36, P.W.H. de Silva 17, I. Udana n.o. 17, D.M. de Silva 12, S.S. Cottrell 4/67, A.S. Joseph 3/57)
West Indies 184 All out 39.1 Overs (S.D. Hope 51, N. Pooran 31, K.M.A. Paul 21, R.L. Chase 20, S.W. Ambris 17, F.A. Allen 17, P.W.H. de Silva 3/30, P.A.D.L.R. Sandakan 3/57, N. Pradeep 2/37)
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-