WI clean sweeps ODI series against Sri Lanka with 5-wicket win

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West Indies beat Sri Lanka by 5 wickets to seal ODI series 3-0 (Windies Cricket photo)

(ICC) A ton from Darren Bravo and half-centuries from Shai Hope and Kieron Pollard saw the West Indies take out the third ODI by five wickets.

Set a target of 275 to win, the West Indies got off to a shaky start in the chase, failing to post a hundred-run opening-stand for the first time this series.

Evin Lewis was the first man out, bowled for 13 by Suranga Lakmal (2/56) in the fifth over. The early wobble continued as Jason Mohammed was bowled for 8 by Wanindu Hasaranga (1/49).

Unfortunately for the Sri Lankans, a 109-run stand between Shai Hope and Darren Bravo put the hosts back on course from there.

Hope, coming off back-to-back 50+ scores, looked in good touch from the get-go, picking up his first boundary with a sumptuous drive back past Asitha Fernando (0/62) in the fourth over. He hit another in Fernando’s next over and when Bravo clobbered a six over mid-off off Thisara Perera (1/27) in the 13th it became clear Sri Lanka needed to find a way past these two men.

Despite a six from Hope off Danushka Gunathilaka (1/28) in the 20th over, the West Indies were behind the rate going into the final 30 overs at 79/2. A 12-run over in the 21st helped the hosts as Bravo hit Hasaranga for a six and a four off consecutive deliveries, before a 16-run over in the 24th, featuring sixes from both batsmen, took them past 100.

Hope brought up his half-century – his sixth consecutive 50+ score in ODIs – in the 30th over and the century-stand for the West Indies’ third wicket was raised in the following over.

At 148/2 the West Indies were cruising but the fall of Hope for 64 to Perera opened the door for Sri Lanka.

Nicholas Pooran blasted a quickfire 15 off 8, including two sixes, before perishing to Gunathilaka in the 35th.

With the West Indies needing 106 runs off the final 15 overs, the match was in the balance.

Pollard (53*) and Bravo took it away from Sri Lanka from there. Pollard helped himself to three consecutive fours off Lakmal in the 37th over to relieve the scoreboard pressure and Bravo started to up his run-rate.

He slammed Lakshan Sandakan over long-off for six in the 38th before tickling Hasaranga down the legside for four in the 43rd to move into the 90s. In the 45th he raised his fourth ODI century with another clip past fine leg. He perished in the 47th over to Lakmal, caught brilliantly by a leaping Karunaratne at extra cover for 102.

An unbeaten 53 from Pollard in the company of Jason Holder (14*) saw the West Indies home from there.

Captain Kieron Pollard (L) with Shai Hope (R) who was named Man of the Series (Windies Cricket photo)

Asked to bat first, Sri Lanka posted a total of 274/6 thanks largely to half-centuries from Ashen Bandara (55*) and Hasaranga (80*).

Gunathilaka and captain Karunaratne laid a solid platform for the Sri Lankans, putting on 68 runs for the opening stand. The promising start was ended by Alzarri Joseph (1/51) in the 14th over, who removed Gunathilaka (36) with a short ball that took the edge before ricocheting off the Sri Lankan’s helmet to point.

In the very next over Karunaratne perished, bowled by Mohammed (1/49) attempting a slog sweep.

There was a steady flow of wickets from there as Akeal Hosein (3/33) ran through Sri Lanka’s middle-order. The left-arm finger-spinner trapped Pathum Nissanka (24) in front in the 21st over and went on to bowl Dinesh Chandimal (16) and Dasun Shanaka (22). When Perera (3) was run out by a direct hit from Pooran, the Sri Lankans were in serious trouble at 151/6 in the 32nd over.

From there, Bandara and Hasaranga rebuilt Sri Lanka’s innings. It was slow going at first but Hasaranga started to free up his arms in the 38th over, helping himself to back-to-back boundaries off seamer Anderson Phillip (0/43). In the 40th he hit his first six, slogging Fabian Allen (0/43) high over mid-wicket.

The Sri Lankans went into their final 10 overs on 185/6 and plundered 89 runs in a fast finish. Hasaranga was at the heart of it, smashing Mohammed into the sightscreen for six in the 45th over before Bandara did the same to Allen in the 46th.

It was in the 49th over that things really got going as Bandara picked up back-to-back boundaries off Joseph to bring up his half-century before Hasaranga hit another in the same over to raise the hundred-run stand.

On strike for the final five balls of the innings, Hasaranga finished things with a bang, hitting three fours in a row off Holder (0/53) before pulling a short ball for six over mid-wicket. A single off the final ball took him to an unbeaten 80 off 60 balls – seven runs better than the next highest by a Sri Lankan No.8 in an ODI.

It was enough to give Sri Lanka a competitive total but enough for victory.