Bravo Hundred in Vain as Windies Lose Opening Warm-up

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CMC) — A fluent Darren Bravo hundred was not enough to prevent West Indies from defeat as they went down by two wickets to a Sri Lanka Cricket XI in the first of two tour matches yesterday.

Opting to bat first, West Indies were dismissed for 282 with two balls remaining, with Bravo top-scoring with exactly 100 off 88 deliveries before calling time on his innings.

Sunil Ambris and Nicholas Pooran both struck 41, while Fabien Allen chipped in with 28, but the Caribbean side lost six wickets and managed only 59 runs inside the last 10 overs of the innings.

Teenaged left-arm seamer Dilshan Madushanka finished with three for 47, while new-ball partner, 22-year-old pacer Asitha Fernando, picked up two for 17.

In reply, the hosts lost two wickets in the opening over from Sheldon Cottrell (2-22) with just one run on the board but recovered through Captain Upul Tharanga’s high-class 120 to reach their target with 15 deliveries to spare.

Tharanga rebuilt the innings in concert with Asela Gunaratne (64), the pair putting on 198 for the third wicket to take the game away from the Windies.

When both perished 14 deliveries apart, the home side still required 72 runs from 91 balls and Thikshila DeSilva, with an unbeaten 25, and Lahiru Igalagamage, 22, produced cameos to see their side over the line.

Leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Jr (2-52) and left-arm spinner Allen (2-62) also claimed two wickets each but proved expensive.

West Indies had earlier endured a nightmare start as well, losing both openers Shai Hope and Brandon King without scoring to slump to three runs for two wickets in the third over.

However, Bravo arrived to settle the innings, putting on 113 for the third with Ambris, and a further 79 for the fourth with Pooran.

Left-hander Bravo, recalled to the side after being dropped last September, counted 14 fours and a six before he retired in the 34th over.

Ambris had earlier perished in the 23rd over after striking three fours off 63 balls, lbw to 18-year-old leg-spinner Kavindu Nadeeshan.

Pooran was exhilarating, smashing a couple of fours and sixes in a 38-ball cameo before retiring at the end of the 34th over, but his departure led to the innings losing momentum.

Cottrell gave the visitors a sensational start, trapping Sandun Weerakkody lbw with his third delivery without a run on the board and then also removing Pathum Nissanka to a catch at the wicket, also without scoring with the fifth delivery.

But the experienced Tharanga struck 16 fours and a six off 124 deliveries, while Gunaratne faced 75 balls and counted seven fours, to successfully revive the run chase.

West Indies will play their second tour match on Thursday against a Sri Lanka Board President’s XI in Negombo before facing Sri Lanka in the opening One-Day International of the three-match series at Sinhalese Sports Club Saturday.

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