Shai Hope’s tenth ODI century enabled the West Indies to record a clinical eight-wicket win against Sri Lanka in Antigua early this morning, and give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Chasing a modest 233-run target, the West Indian openers Evin Lewis and Hope put on a century partnership, bringing the required runs down to 90, before Lewis was the first batsman dismissed, bowled by Dushmantha Chameera in the 29th over.
Lewis scored 65, striking four boundaries and two sixes.
Hope then took it upon himself to ensure that West Indies would not squander their good start, reaching his century in 125 balls before he too was bowled by Chameera, 18 runs shy of victory.
Hope’s innings included 12 boundaries and a six.
Darren Bravo struck the winning runs in the 47th over, remaining unbeaten on 38 as the Windies reached the target in the 47th over.
Earlier, opening batsman Danushka Gunathilaka joined the short list of players dismissed obstructing the field as Sri Lanka subsided from a promising start to be dismissed for 232 off 49 overs.
Seeking to regain his ground at the non-striker’s end in turning down an opportunity for a single in the 22nd over off the bowling of home captain Kieron Pollard, Gunathilaka, who was moving backwards, kicked the ball out the path of Pollard who was attempting to effect a run out.
With the West Indies appealing for the dismissal, on-field umpires Joel Wilson and Gregory Brathwaite turned to television official Nigel Duguid for clarification and the interpretation came back that it was determined to be a deliberate effort by the left-handed opener to impede the bowler.
Clearly not pleased with the verdict, Sri Lanka’s South African coach Mickey Arthur appeared to be seeking clarification on the ruling from Match Referee Richie Richardson shortly after.
Gunathilaka’s dismissal for a top score of 55 came two overs after Pollard had effected the breakthrough to end an opening stand of 105 with Dimuth Karunaratne, the Sri Lankan skipper justifying the decision to bat first on winning the toss with a fluent innings of 52. -AFP
Fresh from leading the home side to a 2-1 triumph in the preceding T20 International series, Pollard brought himself into the attack in the 20th over and enjoyed immediate success, displaying remarkable athleticism after parrying a caught-and-bowled effort to dive full-length to his right and come up with a stunning catch.
Sri Lanka’s innings stuttered thereafter it was only an even 50 from Ashen Bandara, one of two debutants in the tourists’ line-up, which lifted them to a respectable total.
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