Sri Lanka vs West Indies, 3rd ODI, Preview – Chance for the Caribbeans to find some form
The home side is highly unlikely to tinker with the winning combination ahead of the inconsequential game in Kandy.
Published - Feb 29, 2020 6:38 pm | Updated - Feb 29, 2020 6:40 pm
It’s a cycle that whistles back to square one after reverberating for some time. Just when the world thinks that the West Indies are beginning to look like the team of the good old times, they take two steps backwards. By beating Ireland and giving India a real run for their money, the side captained by Kieron Pollard showcased genuine signs of revival. All that reduced to ashes when the tourists slumped to a heavy defeat in Hambantota against Sri Lanka, thereby also relinquishing the ODI series.
West Indies started the series as slight favourites if not overwhelming ones. But throughout the first two matches, it seems they still have plenty of catching up to do, especially in critical moments. Despite doing most things right in the first match, the tourists finished on the losing side. It was only in the second game that the Lankans exposed their opponents in all the facets.
West Indies’ ground fielding, which was impressive in Colombo, was below par by a mile in Hambantota. The dropped catch of Kusal Mendis by Pollard at slips at the fourth over cost them a massive 117 runs. The final ten overs of the Sri Lankan innings fetched them 118 runs to set the tourists 346 to chase. It was the duration in which the men in maroon were well short of the spirit needed to bring themselves back into the game.
And while the West Indies had the men in their armoury, capable of scaling down nearly 350, Sri Lanka’s disciplined bowling on a deteriorating pitch ensured that the tourists stood no chance. The capitulation at 184, while disappointing was mostly unsurprising. The game at Kandy is a dead rubber, given the series being pocketed by Sri Lanka. However, when looking at the big picture, it is anything but that for the West Indies. Ahead of the two T20Is that follows, which is an opportunity to gear themselves for the T20 World Cup, Pollard’s men must use this match to rediscover their form.
This has been a series to savour for Sri Lanka. Their batting line-up which mainly disappointed them against Pakistan has found men, rising to the occasion at the nick of time. Avishka Fernando has been going from strength to strength as a bonafide opening batsman, having scored a fifty and a hundred in two games. The likes of Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Thisara Perera, and Wanindu Hasaranga have also chipped in with crucial performances with the bat to design the series win.
Sri Lanka’s bowling performance came together in Hambantota, which went to pieces in Colombo. And as they move on to Kandy, the hosts would be looking forward to piling the pressure further on the Caribbeans and achieve a rare 3-0 series triumph.
The home side is highly unlikely to tinker with the winning combination ahead of the inconsequential game in Kandy. They have found men out of nowhere, stepping up to save the day and lead them to unlikely victories. The tailenders have been clinical as much as the top-order batsman.
Probable XI: Avishka Fernando, Dimuth Karunaratne(c), Kusal Perera(wk), Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep
It’s hard to make out what changes the tourists can carry out to earn a consolation victory. Perhaps, it was in the second game; they felt the absence of Shimron Hetmyer and Evin Lewis from their ranks. Brandon King could be tried at the top in place of Sunil Ambris, who has disappointed with scores of 3 and 17 in two matches.
It is already the second-best eleven the Windies can produce at this very stage. The likes of Nicholas Pooran, Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard, and Roston Chase’s failures have mainly hurt them. Along with that, the outfielders also have to remain on the money for their bowlers to succeed.
Probable XI: Shai Hope(wk), Sunil Ambris/Brandon King, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Nicholas Pooran, Kieron Pollard(c), Jason Holder, Keemo Paul, Fabian Allen, Alzarri Joseph, Sheldon Cottrell
Focus will be on:
Avishka Fernando (Sri Lanka)
Prior to this series, fans had their doubts about whether Avishka Fernando would perish from the scene after a few promising knocks. The right-handed batsman had passed 50 only once since his century against West Indies in July. With 177 runs in two innings already at an average of 88.50, Fernando would be looking to finish the series with one more scintillating knock.
Nicholas Pooran (West Indies)
The world saw Nicholas Pooran belt the much-vaunted bowling attack of India on their home turf last year. His scores of 29*, 75, and 89 proved that he is one of the most exciting faces to watch out for in the near future in white-ball cricket. However, it has been tough going for the Trinidad-born against Sri Lanka.
With scores of 11 and 31 so far, the southpaw hasn’t set the current series on fire. West Indies banked mostly banked upon him in the absence of Hetmyer to set things in motion. Nevertheless, he could be one blistering inning away from getting back into the groove ahead of the T20Is.
Head to Head:
Played – 60 | Won by Sri Lanka – 29 | Won by West Indies – 28 | No result – 3
1 – West Indies have played only one ODI till date at the Pallekele Stadium, having lost it against the hosts in 2015.
West Indies were the last side against whom Sri Lanka recorded a 3-0 series win in a sequence containing three ODIs. They achieved this feat during their previous bilateral series back in 2015-16.
TV – Sony Networks
Live streaming – Sony Liv
Match timings – 2:30 pm IST, 2:30 pm local