Mendis helps Sri Lanka edge out West Indies by one wicket
Sri Lanka 164-9 (Dilshan 59) beat
West Indies 159-8 (Russell 41) by one wicket (D/L)
First One-Day International, Colombo
Ajantha Mendis displayed nerves of steel in a tight chase of 163 from 26 overs as Sri Lanka managed to edge out West Indies by one wicket in the rain-affected first One-Day International in Colombo.
Persistent drizzle dampened the start of the ODI series with the start delayed by almost two hours. Sri Lanka won the toss and without hesitation decided to field first.
Suranga Lakmal (3-15) struck twice in his successive overs to dismiss both the West Indies openers in single digits.
Darren Bravo (38) decided to attack as he hit two boundaries in the fifth over from Lasith Malinga (0-20). One was streaky from the outside edge.
Marlon Samuels' (2) poor tour continued as he was trapped lbw giving Lakmal his third wicket.
West Indies reached 40 for two in 14.2 overs and that’s when rain intervened again. The play was in a danger of being called-off as persistent downpour made conditions tough.
Just when we were a hour away from the cut-off time, the play resumed. A delay of three hours meant that the game was reduced to 26 overs per side.
With 11.4 overs left in the game, West Indies promoted Andre Russell (41) up the order as he plundered three sixes and three boundaries in his 24-ball knock.
Meanwhile, Bravo smacked Mendis (2-46) over long-on to bring the 50-run stand with Russell.
However, Angelo Mathews (1-10) and Mendis struck in successive overs to dismiss the settled pair of Russell and Bravo respectively as West Indies were reeling at 113 for six in the 23rd over.
A 13-ball cameo from skipper Jason Holder (36) which included two fours and three sixes ensured West Indies reached 159 for eight in their allotted overs of 26.
Lakmal was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers with three wickets at an economy of three while Mendis managed two. The target for Sri Lanka was revised to 163 in 26 overs.
Tillakaratne Dilshan (59) and Kusal Perera (14) gave Sri Lanka a quick start of 28 in four overs.
Dilshan welcomed Russell (0-18) with a couple of sixes and a four in the fifth over but Sri Lanka lost Perera in the same over, run-out by Jonathan Carter (2-14) who hit the stumps direct. Russell had to leave the field immediately after sustaining an injury.
The Sri Lankan all-rounder added another 43 with Lahiru Thirimanne (17) before Carlos Brathwaite (2-35) got the better of Thirimanne caught by Denesh Ramdin.
Dilshan reached his fifty of 25 deliveries but a couple of overs later he fell to Brathwaite. Sri Lanka needed 59 runs from 13 overs with seven wickets at hand at that stage.
Jerome Taylor (1-32) had Mathews caught at third man exposing the inexperienced middle-order to the mystery off-spinner Sunil Narine (3-21).
Narine bowled a brilliant 19th over as he removed both the debutants Danushka Gunathilaka (12) and Shehan Jayasuriya (0) along with Milinda Siriwardana (7) in the same over restricting Sri Lanka to 133 for seven.
With Russell already out of the attack, Holder had to rely on the part-timers. The move to give Carter (2-14) the 24th over paid huge dividends as he removed Sachithra Senanayake (7) and Lasith Malinga (0) in successive deliveries.
The target was down to 11 runs from the last 12 deliveries but Johnson Charles (0-12) bowled a no-ball in the penultimate over which was capitalized by Mendis as he it the free-hit over the boundary securing a one-wicket win for Sri Lanka, thereby a 1-0 lead in the series.
Dilshan was awarded the man of the match. The second ODI between these two teams will be played in Colombo on 4th November.
© Cricket World 2015