Hope hits century as West Indies win opening ODI

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Shai Hope of West Indies hits 4 during the 1st ODI match between West Indies and Sri Lanka at Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in North Sound, Antigua and Barbuda, on March 10, 2021. (Photo by Randy Brooks / AFP) (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

Led by Shai Hope’s classy 110, West Indies defeated Sri Lanka by eight wickets and 18 balls to spare in the first of three One Day Internationals (ODI) at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

Hope hit his tenth century, an innings of 110 which came off 133 balls and included 12 fours and one six as West Indies chased down 233, ending on 236-2 in 47 overs.

Hope was well supported by Evin Lewis, who scored 65 while Darren Bravo (37) and Jason Mohammed (13) took West Indies over the line.

Earlier, Sri Lanka were dismissed for 232 in 49 overs. Openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Danushka Gunathilake got Sri Lanka off to the perfect start as the pair put on 105 inside 20 overs. It took a moment of brilliance from West Indies captain Kieron Pollard to get the breakthrough. Off his own bowling, Pollard on the second attempt completed a diving two-handed catch to remove Karunaratne for 52 off 61 which included four fours.

The second wicket had some controversy as Gunathilake was given out for obstructing the field for 55 off 61 balls with seven fours. Gunathilake played down a delivery that dropped close to his feet. His partner Pathum Nissanka in an effort to steal a quick single was past mid pitch before Gunathilaka sent him back.

In his attempt to get back to the crease, Gunathilake made contact with the ball leading to an appeal from Pollard. The third umpire then decided that Gunathilake is out.

The Sri Lanka innings lost momentum following the loss of the openers. Ashen Bandara, batting at six, held the innings together with an even 50 but he did not get ample support.

Off-spinner Jason Mohammed and fast bowler Jason Holder were the top West Indies bowlers grabbing two wickets apiece. Mohammed ended with 2/12 in four overs and Holder took 2/39 in his ten-over spell. West Indies were also impressive in the field as two Sri Lankan batsmen were run out.