Sri Lanka v West Indies, 1st ODI, Colombo November 1, 2015

Narine, Mendis and a dash of mystery

Plays of the day from the first ODI between Sri Lanka and West Indies in Colombo

Ajantha Mendis' heroics with the bat helped Sri Lanka clinch a thriller © Associated Press

The no ball-drop
When Ajantha Mendis hoicked Johnson Charles' length ball toward deep midwicket, with Sri Lanka nine down, West Indies thought they had the chance to win the game. Jerome Taylor ran forward from that position and dived to get both hands to the ball, but let it bounce out of his palms. In the end, two West Indies errors on this delivery led to their defeat next ball. Charles had overstepped, and conceded a front-foot no-ball. Had this been a legitimate delivery, Mendis might not have aimed a six off the next ball, which became a free hit. Had Taylor caught the ball cleanly at deep midwicket, Sri Lanka might not have run two, and Suranga Lakmal would have been on strike for that next delivery.

The double-strike
Jason Holder was forced to go to his part-time bowlers after an injury to Andre Russell left West Indies short of front-liners. In the 24th over, Jonathan Carter's medium-pace revived West Indies' hopes of victory, after the Mendis-Sachithra Senanayake partnership seemed to be taking it away from them. Carter first snuck his third-ball between Senanayake's bat and pad to break that stand, and then left his team on the brink of victory by nailing Lasith Malinga in front of the stumps next ball. Lakmal would survive the last two balls of that over, however, allowing the hosts to hang on.

The carbon copy
Danushka Gunathilaka and Shehan Jayasuriya received their ODI caps on Sunday, and they departed within four balls of each other, in almost identical fashion. Not picking Sunil Narine's offbreaks, both batsmen saw the ball pitch on leg stump and played for the straighter one. Narine spun it past both men's outside edge and clipped off stump on his way to a triple-wicket over.

The yorker
Angelo Mathews has been reluctant to bowl over the past few weeks, owing to an ankle complaint. But upon seeing Andre Russell begin to take the match away from Sri Lanka, he took it upon himself to stop Russell's advance. Bringing himself on in the 22nd over, Mathews deployed a long-off and long-on, and looked for the yorker-length that had been eluding his team-mates. He didn't quite hit the blockhole, but when Russell attempted to slam him over long-off second ball, he found the ball was too full to achieve enough elevation and was caught comfortably in the deep.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

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  • Surath on November 6, 2015, 9:47 GMT

    Ajantha Mendis hitting a six and getting back to the crease not knowing he won it for Sri Lanka was classic and should have been included in this list!

  •   Tharindu Vishwanath on November 3, 2015, 3:48 GMT

    Really Mathews, When there are two debutants in the team, you send Dilshan, Thirimanna, and yourself in No 1, 3, and 4 positions. And if you fall quickly which you did, that leaves a lot of pressure to the youngsters and the tail-enders which actually happened. Mathews should have played No.5, his usual position.

  • Anura on November 2, 2015, 18:18 GMT

    Give credit to Mathew. His judgement was right in taking up the bowling during the time of Russell's slogging.

  •   Piwithuru Sannasgala on November 2, 2015, 14:54 GMT

    This match clearly showed the reality of SL batting depth. After Dilly putting up his career fastest 50 to salvage the side from early erosion (Kusal, Thiri) & raising the score to 104 with his 59 (184 SR), the rest of the batters had a cakewalk to score just 60 runs from 13 overs (with 7 wickets in hand), against the depleted bowling attack of WI. But all the "Technicians" crumbled like thin wafers.

    But, ultimately all the "specialists" SL batters selected to do the job, hilariously left it to Ajantha Mendis to score his career best score of 21 runs (from 20 to balls) to pull out SL from the jaws of a certain defeat.

    The Ultimate winners were EXPERIENCED Dilly at the Top & Ajantha at the bottom :D This is an eye opener for SL Selectors, who renounced the value of Experience & just a glimpse of near future that SL can expect against formidable opponents like NZ :))

  •   Bimalka Liyanarachchi on November 2, 2015, 9:24 GMT

    Big fan of you Andrew, but allow me to do some nitpicking. The 'Carbon copy' dismissals were barely carbon copies at all. Jayasuriya dragged a carrom ball onto his stumps trying to cut a ball that was too close to him, While Gunathilaka was 'playing' for a carrom ball that slipped past his outside edge to hit off stump. Of course, the score book would back you up as they'd both read b Narine, but thought I'd point it out. :-)

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