Spinners Ambush West Indies As Sri Lanka Level Series

Chris Gayle and Kevin Sinclair congratulate Dwayne Bravo following his dismissal of Danushka Gunathilaka.

ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) — A cavalier West Indies paid a heavy price for their indiscreet stroke-play as Sri Lanka’s spinners weaved a web around them to earn their side a series-leveling 43-run victory in the second Twenty20 International.

Left-arm spinner Lakshan Sandakan (3-10) and leg-spinner Hasaranga de Silva (3-17) snatched three wickets apiece on March 5th, laying waste to the Caribbean side’s pursuit of 161 at Coolidge Cricket Ground.

Fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera chipped in with two for 26 as West Indies collapsed from 45 for one at the start of the seventh over to a hugely disappointing 117 all out in the penultimate over.

Number 10 Obed McCoy top-scored with a merry 23 from just seven balls with the game already gone while Lendl Simmons was the only specialist batsman to pass 20 with 21 off 19 deliveries.

Opener Danushka Gunathilaka had earlier top-scored with a bold 56 off 42 deliveries, posting an entertaining 95 for the first wicket with Pathum Nissanka who struck 37 from 23 balls in only his second international, to fire the visitors up to 160 for six from their 20 overs.

Veteran medium-pacer Dwayne Bravo was the standout bowler with two for 25 from his four overs and it was he who broke the opening stand which led to the decline in Sri Lanka’s innings.

While the defeat came on the heels of a similarly suspect batting display in Wednesday’s opener which West Indies won by four wickets, Captain Kieron Pollard was quick to downplay the issue as a major worry.

“We can say all sorts. At the end of the day, we didn’t get the total,” Pollard said afterwards.

“I just thought that a couple dismissals were a bit soft and [we were] just not playing our match-ups. It’s a matter of just figuring it out mentally and coming and trying to put it right.”

Needing to score at a shade over eight runs an over, West Indies started slowly with eight runs from the first two overs before Evin Lewis (6) missed a swipe at the sixth ball he faced and had his stumps shattered by leg-spinner Akila Dananjaya in the third over.

Simmons, who struck two fours and a six, put on 36 for the second wicket with veteran Chris Gayle who hit a run-a-ball 16 with two fours and a six.

In the first of two expensive overs from seamer Thisara Perera, Simmons and Gayle combined to smash 20 runs, giving their side the advantage at the end of the first power play.

However, Hasaranga changed the complexion of the run chase when he removed Gayle and Simmons in the next over and his first of the innings, as West Indies slumped to 48 for three in the seventh.

Gayle holed out to deep midwicket off the first ball while Simmons played down the wrong line to a googly and was plumb lbw.

All-rounder Jason Holder (9) followed in the ninth, picking out long off with off-spinner Gunathilaka one ball after he had cleared the ropes in the same area.

And when Chameera got Dwayne Bravo (2) to parry a short ball to captain Angelo Mathews at midwicket and then bowled Nicholas Pooran (8) when the left-hander missed an ungainly swipe in the same over, the home side had lost three wickets for six runs in 15 balls to be tottering on 66 for sixth in the 11th over.

Pollard (13) and Fabian (12) added 23 for the seventh in a last-ditch effort before Hasaranga trapped Allen lbw in the 16th and Sandakan got Pollard to hole out to deep extra cover in the next over.

Gunathilaka had given the innings a rousing start after Sri Lanka opted to bat, punching four fours and two sixes while Nissanka counted four fours and one six before becoming the first casualty of the innings, run out by Bravo’s direct hit at the non-striker’s end going for a quick single in the 11th over.

With one run added in the same over, Gunathilaka also perished softly, guiding an innocuous delivery from Bravo into Kevin Sinclair’s lap at cover.

Thereafter, Sri Lanka lost wickets steadily as the innings fell away and it was left to Ashen Bandara with 21 off 19 deliveries to add runs at the end.



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