West Indies vs Sri Lanka 3rd ODI Preview: Sensible batting, tight bowling hands WI clean sweep opportunity
What Sri Lanka need is their batsmen to score in excess of 300 and their bowlers, particularly spinners, to create a few more opportunities. It is easier said than done though.
Sri Lanka fail to execute skills in ODIs
The first two matches of the ODI series have been quite similar to each other. In the first ODI, after getting a brilliant start, Sri Lanka were bowled out for just 232 due to a middle order collapse. West Indies chased it down comfortably courtesy of a century from Shai Hope and won by 8 wickets with three overs to spare.
In the second match, Sri Lanka batted first again. They did a little better, scoring 273 from 50 overs in this match as well. Danushka Gunathilaka was their best batsman and would consider himself unfortunate to miss out on a well-deserved ODI ton by just 4 runs after batting beautifully and crashing 10 fours and 3 sixes.
With Angelo Mathews having returned home for personal reasons, Oshada Fernando was slotted in at number four and could not deliver . Still, with the help of a good hand of 71 from Dinesh Chandimal, Sri Lanka found themselves in a decent position at 204/5 towards the beginning of the last 10 overs of the innings and would have expected to cash in.
However, that was not possible despite a brilliant 31-ball 47 from Wanindu Hasaranga. As a result, they improved upon their total from the first match and made 273, but left at least 20-30 runs on the table.
Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne was honest in the assessment of his side's weaknesses in the post match presentation after West Indies took an unassailable lead after winning both the first two matches of the three match ODI series.
"We lost a lot of wickets in the early part. We recovered well, but the two batsmen who got runs, they couldn't convert it. Even in bowling, we need to improve. The spinners are expected to take wickets, but the WI batsmen bated really well against them. There are some positives. Danushka got some runs, Chandimal got some runs as well, Thisara and Wanindu were brilliant. But we lacked wicket-taking options and that's why we couldn't put pressure on West Indies. We need to have a plan for their openers (in the final ODI). We need to take a couple of wickets early."
Level-headedness of WI batters refreshing
The West Indies batsman batted with patience yet again, not a virtue often associated with the West Indies batting, but the tricks of the trade in T20Is and ODIs are different.
Openers Shai Hope and Evin Lewis added 192 runs in the 2nd ODI and West Indies were expected to win quite comfortably. However, once Lewis was dismissed for 103, reaching his century in the 38th over and Hope followed soon after for 84, Westindies lost some momentum.
As it turned out, it became too close for comfort for the hosts as the match extended to the last over with West Indies still needing 9 to win. Unfortunately for Sri Lanka, Nuwan Pradeep could not execute his death bowling variations and conceded fours on the second and third balls to gift the match to West Indies.
Joseph and Jason Mohammed deliver for West Indies
In terms of the bowling, Alzarri Joseph was brilliant for West Indies and castled both Dimuth Karunaratne and Pathum Nissanka to grab early initiative. Fabian Allen was also very economical and gave away just 43 runs from his 10 overs. Jason Mohammed finished with figures of 10-0-47-3.
Sri Lankan spinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Lakshan Sandakan looked toothless again and could not create enough opportunities. In their defence, they needed something in excess of 300 to make a difference on a batting beauty in Antigua.
What Sri Lanka need is their batsmen to score in excess of 300 and their bowlers, particularly spinners to create a few more opportunities. It is easier said than done though.
Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:
West Indies - Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (wk), Darren Bravo, Jason Mohammed, Nicholas Pooran, Kieron Pollard (c), Jason Holder, Fabian Allen, Romario Shepherd, Alzarri Joseph, Akeal Hosein
Sri Lanka - Danushka Gunathilaka, Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Pathum Nissanka, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Oshada Fernando, Ashen Bandara, Thisara Perera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep
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