West Indies vs Sri Lanka 2nd ODI Preview: SL batsmen need to go big to bring spinners in the game
The ease with which the West Indies batting unit went about the chase in the first ODI stamped the hosts' authority over the ODI series.
SL spinners need scoreboard pressure to be effective
The key to the central narrative in the white ball matches between Sri Lanka and West Indies is the tussle between West Indian big hitters and the Sri Lankan spinners. But what do you do as a Sri Lankan spinner when the opposition is in the box seat and batsmen do not have any reason to take a chance against you.
The USP of the likes of Wanindu Hasaranga and Lakshan Sandakan is their brilliance to pick up wickets when the batsman are going after them. However, when going big is not the need of the hour, the entire scenario flips.
The West Indies batsmen, for a change, were sensible enough to just milk singles and not go for the low percentage shots. It becomes very difficult for the likes of Wanindu Hasaranga and Lakshan Sandakan to then dismiss batsmen. This is exactly what was on show in the first ODI of the three match series.
From good, to bad, to worse
Sri Lanka were in a brilliant position after winning the toss and opting to bat first. The opening combination of Dimuth Karunaratne and Danushka Gunathilaka brought up the 100 partnership in the 19th over itself with both openers notching up half centuries.
However, Kieron Pollard dismissed the Sri Lankan skipper on the very second ball after coming into the attack. In his next over Danushka Gunathilaka was dismissed in a strange turn of events.
Gunathilaka was clearly not interested in the call for a single as the usually excited non-striker Pathum Nissanka charged down the track. Pollard, in his follow through, ran to pick up the ball in a bid to affect a run out.
At the same time, Gunathilaka stepped back to get inside his crease and apparently unintentionally trod on the ball to push it behind. A furious Kieron Pollard appealed and the West Indian umpire ruled the decision in favour of the home side, giving Gunathilaka out obstructing the field, which seemed a very controversial call on face value.
The two wickets derailed the Sri Lanka innings after they looked set to reach 300. Pathum Nissanka played his part in another run out after Angelo Mathews was dismissed for just 5 off 7 deliveries before himself getting run out for a torturous 16-ball 8. Ashen Bandara did show some steel with 50 off 60 balls but without any other contribution of note, Sri Lanka folded up for just 232 in the 49th over.
Holder shines with the ball
Jason Holder was the pick of the bowlers for West Indies and finished with figures of 10-1-39-2. Jason Mohammed who rolled over his arm for just four also ended up taking two wickets.
Captain Kieron Pollard played a major role in stifling the Sri Lanka innings as well. He conceded just 15 runs from his five overs while picking up the all-important wicket of Karunaratne.
Shai, the West Indian Hope
West Indies in reply knocked off the runs in 47 overs which they could have easily done within 40 hours. Evin Lewis played in an uncharacteristic manner, making 65 of 90 balls, but looked in control all throughout. Shai Hope (110) had a breezy start but slowed down after the dismissal of Evin Lewis. Hope was dismissed shortly before West Indies sealed the match.
On a surface at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, which offered considerable help for the bolwers, Dushmantha Chameera was the saving grace for Sri Lanka and mixed his pace and variations well. He ended up with 2/50, dismissing Evin Lewis off a perfect yorker and routing Shai Hope with a sensational slower delivery.
SL need more runs
The Sri Lankan batsmen will have to make the most of a good start in order to compete against a strong West Indian side, particularly at home.
If the Lankan batsmen put runs on the board, it will bring the Sri Lankan spinners into the game as the West Indies batsmen will then have no option but to go after them. That is the narrative to look forward to in the second ODI.
Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:
West Indies - Shai Hope (wk), Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Darren Bravo, Nicholas Pooran, Kieron Pollard (c), Jason Holder, Fabian Allen, Romario Shepherd, Alzarri Joseph, Akeal Hosein
Sri Lanka - Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Angelo Mathews, Ashen Bandara, Kamindu Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep
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