Having swept the Test and ODI series, the in-transition Sri Lankans would want to finish strongly in the final T20I as well
It has been over a month since West Indies landed on Sri Lankan shores, and it has been a tour to forget for it.
West Indies managed a draw against a Sri Lanka Board President’s XI in the pre-series tour game, lost the two-Test series 2-0, won a practice game on the Duckworth-Lewis method, lost the One-Day International series 3-0 and is now down 1-0 in the two-match Twenty20 International series. Not much to write home about.
Fortunately, it has one last chance to go home with at least one win under its belt. Unfortunately, with Sri Lanka looking to assert its dominance, the match at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Wednesday (November 11) could be just another exhausting encounter for West Indies.
Looking at the scores, it would seem that Sri Lanka has done everything right and West Indies has got most things wrong so far. Truth is that Sri Lanka hasn’t been as consistent as one might think, and West Indies hasn’t been totally inept. It has again been a question of the West Indians losing the key moments and the Sri Lankans rising to the occasion when needed.
West Indies’ batting has been the poorer department, but in the first T20I, it did fairly well. The unit, led by Andre Fletcher, was unable to chase down the target of 216, but it came close by scoring 185, not a bad T20I effort at all.
The bowling, however, is something West Indies needs to address for the last outing. Five Sri Lankan top-order batsmen scored over 35 at well over run-a-ball in the first T20I. Those runs came despite Sunil Narine’s four overs going for just 20 runs and accounting for one wicket. That showed how ineffective the rest of the bowlers, including the recalled Dwayne Bravo, were, and what makes it worse for West Indies is that Narine will have every delivery of his scrutinised following yet another report for a suspect bowling action.
Sri Lanka, while a younger side than usual, has a nice smattering of experienced hands in both the batting and bowling departments, and the combination has worked fine for it all tour, different people putting their hands up and doing the job at various points in the multi-format series.
West Indies is among the deadliest sides in the shortest format of the game and it would be hoping to do the tag justice at least once. It won’t be easy, but this is its last chance of taking back at least one positive memory from the Sri Lanka tour, and that should be motivation enough.
Sri Lanka has been forced to make one change to its squad following a hamstring injury to Binura Fernando, the allrounder who made his debut against Pakistan in August but did not play in the first T20I. He has been replaced by Dasun Shanaka, whose only T20I appearance came in that same match against Pakistan.
Sri Lanka: Lasith Malinga (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Angelo Mathews, Milinda Siriwardene, Chamara Kapugedara, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Kithuruwan Vithanage, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Kulasekera, Sachithra Senanayake, Jeffrey Vandersay, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (capt), Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Devendra Bishoo.