Sri Lanka was comprehensibly beaten by the West Indies by 8 wickets in the first of the 3-match ODI series where the Sri Lankans would be ruing the controversial decision of opener Danushka Gunathilaka given out for obstructing the field when the visitors were well placed on 112 for 1 wicket at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua. Having got off to a fine 105-run start when skipper Dimuth Karunaratne fell for 52, seven runs later the left handed Gunathilaka was ruled out following an appeal by West Indian captain Kieron Pollard who was the bowler. The decision by TV umpire Nigel Guguid in ruling Gunathilaka out was a questionable decision where the batsman had remained in his crease not responding to a call from Pathum Nissanka and happened to unintentionally tread on the ball thrown at the wickets by Pollard while taking evasive action. Gunathilaka had stroked the ball down the wicket with debutant Nissanka making a poor call where there was no whatsoever run for the taking. Apparently, there was nothing suggestive that the batsman had deliberately blocked the ball leaving the decision to be much rued by the batsman and the Lankan camp. It was a brilliant innings cut short.
Pathum Nissanka’s suicide running out role in the match, as well left much to be desired having gone on to run out next man in Angelo Mathews calling for a second run for 5 before ultimately running himself out as well 14 deliveries later. The kindergarten stuff left much to be desired in respect of run judgment at the highest level of cricket with Mathews as the most experienced of the lot too guilty of having responded to what was never there.
Prior to that one sided calamity that put paid to Sri Lanka’s hopes, skipper Dimuth Karunaratne and Gunathilaka had given their side a perfect start with the former striking 4 boundaries in his 61-ball knock while Gunathilaka struck 7 boundaries in his 61-ball innings that threatened to put Sri Lanka in a strong position but for that bad umpiring decision.
In that calamity, Sri Lanka would once again be pleased with the batting of debutant Ashen Bandara who stroked a superb maiden half century off 60 balls hitting 4 boundaries having taken strike at No.6. The Lankan batting ran deep with Kamindu Mendis and Wanindu Hasaranga, but both failing to come good. Mendis went for 9 off 21 and Hasaranga for 3 off 5. Upfront Dinesh Chandimal too was a letdown falling for 12,
That the West Indies made light of the target ending on 236 for 2 did kindle memories of a mighty past on a brilliant 110 off 133 balls by Shai Hope inclusive of 12 boundaries and a six. The run spurt was orchestrated on a 143-run opening alliance beween hope and Evin Lewis who made 65 off 90 hitting 4 boundaries and 2 sixes.
SRI LANKA 232 (49 Overs) RR: 4.73
(Danushka Gunathilaka 55, Dimuth Karunaratne 52, Ashen Bandara 50 , Lakshan Sandakan n.o. 16, Dinesh Chandimal 12, Jason Mohammed 2/12, Jason Holder 2/39)
WEST INDIES 236/2 (47 Overs) RR: 5.02
(Shai Hope 110, Evin Lewis 65, Darren Bravo n.o. 37, Jason Mohammed n.o. 13, Dushmantha Chameera 2/50)
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-