SL v WI, 1st T20I, Pallekele November 8, 2015

Sammy stirs up West Indies memories


Jerome Taylor cools off during a practice session © AFP

Match facts

November 9, 2015
Start time 1900 local (1330 GMT)

Big Picture

"I think we're now playing a format we enjoy, in a place we've played it the best." Thus spake West Indies captain Darren Sammy, fielding his first question since arriving on the island, where in 2012, his team had won the world title. As the visitors tumbled from defeat to defeat in the Tests and ODIs, you couldn't help but think that the T20 series is where they would really push Sri Lanka. Perhaps it is no surprise that the shortest ODI - the 26-overs-a-side affair in Colombo - was the closest they came to notching up a victory on tour.

Bolstered now by the arrival of Sammy, and the likes of Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, West Indies are arguably even the stronger team on paper, while Sri Lanka continues to grapple with its exodus of experience. In the last series, against Pakistan, the hosts had trialled a few young players, and returned Chamara Kapugedara to the side after a long hiatus. Several of the young players have been selected again, which suggests the experimentation will continue, which in turn leaves Sri Lanka open to have their inexperience exposed, as it was against Pakistan.

One major change from that Pakistan series is Lasith Malinga's resurgence. He was rifling through his variations in the ODI series, often taking early wickets, and usually bowling tightly at the finish, all at a greater pace than he had bowled with earlier in the year. There are questions about his suitability to spearhead this team, but there can be no doubts that he is the most pivotal cricketer in the XI. West Indies do have players who have shut him down in the past, however.

Sri Lanka remain the top-ranked T20 side in the world, but as Sammy has suggested, rankings mean much less in this format. The hosts need at least one victory to maintain their place, but West Indies will take the No. 1 ranking if they win 2-0.

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka: LLWWW
West Indies: LWWWL

In the spotlight

Kusal Perera has been among Sri Lanka's movers and shakers in a somewhat stagnant year, seasoning his brimming plateful of talent with good judgment and a little sense. He has begun regularly shaping ODI matches this year, but his T20 form has not yet caught fire in the same fashion - thanks in part to the infrequency with which T20 games are played. Having struck a 99 and a 50 in the ODIs, Kusal now has the opportunity to impose himself in the format for which his cricket seems created.

While Malinga has warmed up in the blue corner, Marlon Samuels has been heating up in the red. His 110 not out in the third ODI was the best innings of the series, and just like in that 2012 World T20 final, he has started to play Malinga particularly well. The carve through point was his go-to stroke in the one-dayers, but those brutal straight hits have begun to pepper the sightscreen as well.

Team news

Sri Lanka may try 25-year-old legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay and 20-year-old seamer Binura Fernando again. They might also give tearaway Dushmantha Chameera a T20 debut, following his excellent turn in the third ODI.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Kusal Perera (wk), 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Kithuruwan Vithanage, 4 Dinesh Chandimal , 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Chamara Kapugedara, 7 Milinda Siriwardana, 8 Jeffrey Vandersay, 9, Binura Fernando, 10 Lasith Malinga (capt.), 11 Dushmantha Chameera

Andre Russell is likely to be fit and available for selection. West Indies will miss the unwell Samuel Badree, but with his replacement Devendra Bishoo having had a decent CPL, they may feel confident enough to play him.

West Indies (probable): 1 Johnson Charles, 2 Andre Fletcher (wk), 3 Marlon Samuels, 4 Dwayne Bravo, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Darren Sammy (capt), 7 Andre Russell, 8 Jason Holder, 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Devendra Bishoo, 11 Ravi Rampaul

Pitch and conditions

The Pallekele pitch used for Saturday's ODI will be used again for this match. Sri Lanka had said the surface was slower than usual for the venue. Rain interruptions are likely.

Stats and trivia

  • In addition to the 2012 World T20 final, Sri Lanka and West Indies have also met twice in the semi-final of World T20 tournaments. Sri Lanka won both those matches. The 2012 final is the only T20 match Sri Lanka have lost to West Indies.
  • 26 is Kusal Perera's highest score in his most recent eight T20 innings.
  • Dwayne Bravo needs 74 runs to complete 1000 in T20 internationals.


"The last international T20 we played was back in January, in South Africa. After that we've played a few tournaments. Some of our guys are playing all over the world. We've put in some practice yesterday and today. Hopefully the rest of the squad that has been here should be acclimatised to the conditions. We're looking to bring our experience and play a format that we enjoy."

West Indies captain Darren Sammy said his side are in good T20 nick, despite the long break between matches

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Rasa Balakumar on November 9, 2015, 15:13 GMT

    can any body update the live streaming link as soon as possible ??? please

  • Saranga Jayawardena on November 9, 2015, 13:21 GMT

    dilshan kusal thiri chandi kapu mathews siriwardhana thisara kule vandersay malinga...can win this match..also the world cup

  •   Rasa Balakumar on November 9, 2015, 13:11 GMT

    Sri Lanka-West Indies second T20 rescheduled for Nov 11

  • Robin on November 9, 2015, 12:11 GMT

    In reply to VIVGILCHRIST, there's that old saying that action speaks louder than words. The Windies usually have a depleted squad to choose from in Test Cricket, a slightly stronger but contentious squad in the ODIs, we can go into all the politricks until we're blue in the face, the fact remains that regardless of what side is chosen in either format, the majority of players tend to go into T20 mode, as the simple basic concept of building a innings, rotating the strike and pacing themselves to the match-situation and maintaining any kind of self-discipline, ceases to exist these days. Bottom line is the West Indies like the T20 Format, because of the license to free themselves with reckless abandon, plus the popularity and rewards that come with it. We rarely see any solid "team" performances in Tests and ODIs, maybe the odd individual standouts, but collectively?...a resounding no!!

  • Aazir on November 9, 2015, 11:39 GMT

    Why everyone saying about experience and in experience in my viewpoint in this word makes mentally falldown. As my knowledge sportsman have to fulfill the current situation by his talent with maturity thoughts. I hope especially in this formats Sri Lanka have Better team and my Xi would be

    Kusal Perera (wk),Dilshan, Kithuruwan ,Dinesh Chandimal,Milinda Siriwardana, Chamara Kapugedara, Angelo Mathews,Binura Fernando,Sachithra senanayake, Lasith Malinga (capt.), Dushmantha Chameera

  • Cricinfouser on November 9, 2015, 11:32 GMT

    @tharindu wishwanath,Sorry to inform you that you were wrong.Thisara is indeed in the squad.

  • sachit on November 9, 2015, 11:30 GMT

    @THARINDU VISHWANATH - NLTC Perera is in the squad. check the squad.

  • andymu8521185 on November 9, 2015, 9:40 GMT

    I sincerely hope the dispute between the WICB and players get sort out asap . Wi are dangerous force in T20 . Full strength team west indies team can easily win the next twenty world cup . They have all the well balanced team in t20 . My playing X1 for next t20 world cup : 1.gayle 2. j.charles (wk) 3. d.bravo 4. m .samuels 5. l.simmons 6.k.pollard 7.d.bravo 8. a.russelll 9 . s.narine 10 S.badree 11. santokie. Strength : 1. Dangerous aggressive and match winner . 2. batting depth . 3 game changers 4. bowling attack has variety .Gayle take his time . ALl other batsman should play aggressively . Badree santokie should open the bowling .

  • Siraj Cddiq on November 9, 2015, 8:13 GMT

    Ya This is first t20 won the srilanka high score

  • sachit on November 9, 2015, 7:25 GMT

    to win this T20 SL need a strong performance form both their veterans Dilshan and Malinga. Also this should be a make or break series for Thisara Perera

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