West Indies v Sri Lanka, Champions Trophy warm-up match, Birmingham June 4, 2013

Bravos steal the show


West Indies 297 for 6 (Darren 71, Charles 58, Sarwan 55) beat Sri Lanka 280 (Sangakkara 56, Dwayne 3-26) by 17 runs

West Indies withstood a late surge from Sri Lanka's tailenders to triumph by 17 runs, in the warm-up encounter in Birmingham. Fifties by Johnson Charles, Darren Bravo and Ramnaresh Sarwan, propelled West Indies to 297 for 6. Sri Lanka were unable to exert sustained control over the run chase as they lost wickets regularly. A 73-run ninth-wicket stand between Dilhara Lokuhettige and Nuwan Kulasekara put Sri Lanka in sight of victory, but Dwayne Bravo mopped up the remaining wickets, and finished with a match-best 3 for 26 from his five overs. Aside from him, the West Indies batsmen will take the most confidence from the match.

The result, as in many other warm-up matches, is largely irrelevant. West Indies would not have had the service of Tino Best with the ball had they fielded eleven batsmen. Sri Lanka meanwhile, could not have used Lokuhettige, or one of either Jeevan Mendis or Lahiru Thirimanne. Moreover, neither team plays a group match in Edgbaston. Though the warm-ups recreate match conditions to some extent, both teams are likely to encounter more lively pitches in London and Cardiff.

Charles dominated the early overs, while Gayle was reticent at the other end. As it became clear his partner was striking it well, as he had against Australia, Gayle was content to give Charles the lion share of the strike. Sri Lanka's fast bowling was not devoid of discipline in the opening overs, but the pitch - another lifeless batting paradise - did not offer them much room for error. Charles cut with particular ferocity, often when the ball was not more than a foot outside off stump, and he drove balls equally undeserving of punishment, almost as well. With no lateral movement on offer, in the air or off the pitch, Kulasekara's gentle pace became fodder for Charles, who took ten runs off his first over, and rarely let up after. Gayle eventually departed for 22, having hit no boundaries, and Charles followed eight balls later, having made his second successive fifty of the warm-ups.

Darren Bravo achieved the same feat during the middle overs, though his strike-rate was 74 in comparison to Charles' 116. Tillakaratne Dilshan bowled the tightest overs of West Indies innings, and having seen Marlon Samuels perish on the fence to Dilshan's second ball, Bravo and Sarwan played him with utmost prudence. Dilshan's economy rate of 2.71 was substantially superior to what the front line operators achieved in either warm-up match.

As West Indies approached 250 with only three wickets lost, captain Dwayne Bravo retired both batsmen out after the 44th over, leaving their 126-run stand unbroken. Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard then began hitting out, but only Pollard succeeded in that regard. His 21-ball 29 featured two sixes off near-yorkers, in Lasith Malinga's final over, which went for 16.

With a large total to chase, Sri Lanka's explosive openers might have set them on course, but their assault was too short-lived to fire their side to a substantial advantage, and the remaining batsmen were left with plenty to do. Kusal Perera's defensive technique has not faltered so far in international cricket, but as he has tended to do in the past, he threw away a promising start by playing one shot too many - this time into the hands of the fielder at deep square leg.

Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka's most secure batsman on fast, bouncy pitches, will take the most from this match. His 62-ball 56 is exactly the sort of innings that is required of him in the middle order if Sri Lanka are to go far in this tournament, and having also made a decent score at a fair clip in the first warm-up match, he has seemingly left his IPL woes in India.

His 62-run partnership with Mahela Jayawardene promised greater things, as the pair struck several serene boundaries between them. But when Jayawardene was run out for 29, the middle order mustered little resistance. As in recent major tournaments, it is the ability of Nos. 5, 6 and 7 to overcome early losses that is the area of largest concern for Sri Lanka going forward into the tournament.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Manesh on June 6, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    @ Extraz.Yes, that was a fluke. Do you remember the Asiacups and WCs? Pakistan has a below average batting unit which will spoil the efforts of that average bowling unit.

  • Muhmmad on June 5, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    @Fast_track_bully...this mediocre team have just beaten you in your own country 2-1 remember?...:)

  • associate cricket fan on June 5, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    I can see lot of experts saying that SL will be out in the 1st round in the champions trophy because we lost both warm-up matches and some claimed that India will win the CT because they won both warm-up games...lol I guess those experts forgot what happened before 2007 world cup. India won both warm-up games before the beginning of the world cup, but why did they lose to BD and got kicked out of the tournament?

  • Dummy4 on June 5, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    2 ordinary team good luck!

  • Thilanka on June 5, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    @ surajporeddy ; don't show your poor knowledge about cricket , teams & groups selecting based by ratings , OH MAN !!! I can't laugh man !

  • Prashan on June 5, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    @matchfixerpkn, has Bangladesh managed to beat any ODI team at least 20 times? It is an undisputable fact that Sri Lanka beat England 5-0 in the ODIs in 2006 in England haha! Has Pakistan ever whitewashed England in England? Keep dreaming dude and grow up. Sanath Jayasuriya freely thrashed your school boy bowling attack of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis with utmost ease.

  • Prashan on June 5, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    @matchfixerpkn, since you are boasting so much about Bangladesh haha remember Sri Lanka has achieved light years more than what Bangladesh has achieved in cricket. We have plenty of world records (highest partnership, highest score in all 3 formats, leading test wicket taker and much much more) too and ICC will respect that unlike a pure trash talking troll like you. Cricinfo please publish.

  • Munafs on June 5, 2013, 15:17 GMT

    SL team has lost to India 12 ODI series and managed to win just one ODI series in last 30 years. Then the lost 2011 final to India and WC 2003 they were thrashed badly. Only two vistories of note that SL has over India is 1996 SF and 2007 fluke win. Otherwise SL looses 90% of time ( check stats on info)

  • Dummy4 on June 5, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    This is the warm up matches where teams will experiment with different options to determine who and what will work under these conditions and oppositions. It is difficult and unfair to judge from the warm up games as to what is going to take place when the competition starts. However, it will give give you an idea which players have adjusted and is consistent.

    As far as WI is concern I believe playing 5 batters with 4 bowlers including Bravo and Pollard, Samuels and Gayle to make up the other 10 overs will be their best option.

    "Good luck WI."

  • Free on June 5, 2013, 13:56 GMT

    Hold your horses boys ! Two warm up matches lost and you wrote SL out of CT ? Thats really insane. I mean com' on look at it in this way. 1st match,Technically SL Scored a monstrous 325 odds against a bowling side who bowled out Aussies for just 65 ! And the 2nd match, SL managed to contain WI power packed batting order under 300 on a flat wicket. And scored 275 odds batting second, that too against a good bowling side of WI. SL had batting depth till 10th batsmen. Both matches were very close, those were not one sided matches. Now tell me where is the problem ?

    I know SL is not the best team out there and they are not particularly well against India lately. BUT dont forget the fact that SL always find a way to reach finals in almost every big tournament. They are really consistent in big events. So, relax and enjoy some cricket. We never know who lifts the CT untill its lifted.