West Indies v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Kingston June 28, 2013

Gayle, bowlers give West Indies comfortable win

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West Indies 209 for 4 (Gayle 109) beat Sri Lanka 208 (Mathews 55*, Jayawardene 52, Narine 4-40, Rampaul 3-38) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Chris Gayle had failed to leave a mark in cold and wet England, but he probably knows there is only one thing cool in the warmer climes of Jamaica - he himself. And no one at Sabina Park would disagree. After a lean patch in the Champions Trophy where his highest score was 39, Gayle scored his 21st ODI century - his first against Sri Lanka - as West Indies brushed the visitors aside by six wickets and earned a bonus point in the first match of the tri-series.

Sri Lanka didn't have a strong total to defend after their batsmen were felled by the spin of Sunil Narine, who picked up four wickets. Angelo Mathews kept his main bowlers on throughout to try and ensnare the big fish, but Gayle kept blocking, blocking, and then powering it over the ropes with metronomic precision.

It was a typically 'measured' Gayle innings, following its own rhythm, irrespective of the conditions, the pitch, the attack, and the field. He followed his own modus operandi - dead-bats to hittable deliveries, axe-swings against good ones - giving not even an inkling of a chance to the fielding side and hitting at least a six off each of the five bowlers he faced.

Defending a middling total, Sri Lanka knew Gayle was one hurdle they had to get past quickly, but it wasn't to be. Mathews opened with Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara as expected, but introduced Ajantha Mendis in the fifth over to see if Mendis could do what Narine had done in the first innings. Mathews persisted with fielders in catching positions, however, Gayle was in no hurry. Whenever it seemed a hit was needed, he had one.

But despite Gayle hitting three sixes and four fours in the first 10 overs, West Indies hadn't run away. Johnson Charles was doing his best to keep Sri Lanka interested with a laboured stay. There couldn't have been a starker contrast. Charles struggled to read Mendis' spin and the quicks' swing, his misery prolonged by first, a dropped catch by Mathews, and then, by the umpire who let him get away against two good lbw appeals. He finally hit his first boundary - a six - off his 45th ball, but from West Indies' perspective, he helped put up 115 for the opening stand.

Darren Bravo joined Gayle and the two put up a quick 66-run stand to bring West Indies within touching distance of the target. The big wicket did come, when Gayle finally top-edged a sweep that was intended for the stands. There was a minor flutter as Sri Lanka picked two more wickets in the next three overs, but it was a case of too little too late.

Sri Lanka's openers had also laid a solid foundation with a half-century stand after being put in, but their lower middle order failed yet again to shore up a faltering innings after Narine dismissed both Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. But for a fighting half-century by Mathews, they could have finished with much less than the eventual score.

Jayawardene, opening for only the 26th time in 370 ODI innings, scored an effortless half-century at run-a-ball, finding the boundary with silken drives and precise cuts. He greeted Narine with a reverse-swept boundary to bring up his fifty, but was out two balls later inside-edging a sharply-turning delivery to his pads, the ball lobbing up for the wicketkeeper for a simple chance. Sangakkara was dismissed soon after, tamely pushing a flighted delivery to cover.

The situation was tailor-made for the much talked-about, but yet to fire, young brigade - Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne - to send a message to their detractors. But Mathews, dropped on 7, decided thereafter to curtail his strokemaking while Chandimal and Thirimanne allowed the pressure to build and fell to soft dismissals, reducing the innings to a crawl.

Only 15 runs came in the seven overs after the 28th and by the time they were forced to take the batting Powerplay, Sri Lanka were left with little firepower to take advantage. The Powerplay brought further damage. Ravi Rampaul picked up two quick wickets and Sri Lanka were left trying to use up the full quota of overs rather than going for runs.

That shouldn't take away anything from the way West Indies came back. Dwayne Bravo had elected to field hoping his fast bowlers would exploit the early moisture in the pitch, but it was Bravo who provided the first strike, getting Upul Tharanga to edge to the keeper. There was no looking back once Narine, who now has 33 wickets from 14 matches at home, was introduced. Gayle then provided the ideal finishing touches.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on June 30, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    The cup-boards are empty for Sri Lanka. The older players are not so consistent to begin with and the youngsters don't have it in them to compete at international level. Sri Lankan cricket looks very weak for the next couple of years at least, if these are the top youngsters they have in their ranks. I also think Sri Lanka should have more tours to Zimbabwe, Kenya, Afghanistan and such 2nd tier teams so that their present youngsters like Kushal, Thirimanne, Chandimal, Kulasekhara, Eranga, Mathews etc can develop some kind of rhythm and confidence at the international level before SLC introduces them to matches against great teams like India, England and West Indies. Just my thoughts regarding the atrocious cricket being played by Sri Lanka. If they don't tour those 2nd tier countries sooner than later to get some confidence, then Sri Lanka will continue to perform like sitting ducks against great teams like India.

  • C0l0mb0 on June 30, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    kaushal should be there on top... if he wise enough he should take some time n need to get 20 runs 1st. coz we dont hv dilshan, SL should try ppl like karunarathne or Dikwella. Sanga n Mahela need to go down the order n give mathews, chandimal, thirimanne to face more balls. Mahela n sanga batting top wont do any good unless one of them make a 100. its more valuable to give youngsters to perform. And ppl like Suranga lakmal or Chathuranga de Silva should be there as they perform reasonably good with SL A. 1.kusal 2. Karunarathne/Dikwella/Dilshan 3. Thirimane/Chandimal 4. Sanga 5. Mahela 6. Tharanga/Angelo Perera 7. Thisara/ Lokuhettige 8. Kulasekara/C de Silva 9. Senanayaka/S Lakmal 10. Herath 11. Malinga

    Can pick best 15 according to their form, win or lose need to give new guys a chance.

  • Sinhaya on June 30, 2013, 3:56 GMT

    @gnanzcupid, surely why cant Kushal Perera improve if Marvan Atapattu started his career with a galore of ducks?? You cant even admit the fact that Angelo Mathews scored a fifty and was our top scorer. Please look at Angelo's batting average. You cant even acknowledge Thirimanne scoring a fifty against Australia in the CT when under pressure?? You really have a problem about Sri Lanka doing well. Simple.

  • gnanzcupid on June 30, 2013, 0:54 GMT

    @htc_android its not wise to stick on with kusal. He is not good in technique and temperament.not definitely an international material. The only way lankans can win cricket matches after the two batting legends retire will be too bring back sanath,aravinda,marvan,arjuna,chaminda,romesh and muthiah back to the team. These people despite have been not playing much cricket now,will be definitely more beneficial than the set of youngsters you have in the team.

  • espncricinfomobile on June 29, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    We trinis waiting, oval sell out!!!

  • srikks on June 29, 2013, 21:17 GMT

    @Basebull-Sucks: Get your facts right!! India's record vs Sril lanka b/w 1996-2009 is India won -42, Sri Lanka won- 34, 1 tie and 13N/R. Stop coming with child like excuses and accept the truth!!

  • Felix1025 on June 29, 2013, 19:44 GMT

    We have problems with team selection. For this tour team should have been 1. Dimuth K. 2. Kushal P. or Upul T 3. Lahiru T. 4. Kumar S. 5. Angelo M. 6. Mahela J. 7. Dinesh C. / Sachithra S. 8. Dhammika Prasad / Nuwan Pradeep or Thissara Perera 9. Shaminda Eranga 10. Ajantha M. / Suranga L. 11.) Lasith Malinga

    This will be a team for the future. Better also give more exposure to Angelo P., Chathura Pieris, Sanitha de Mel etc. All the best for the rest of the tour!!!!

  • Htc-Android on June 29, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    It was a bad move to open the innings with Mahela. Should have opened the innings with Kusal or Thirimanne. We need Mahelas experience in the middle overs and he is a capable finisher too. Specially with the absence Thissra, we need to have Mahela in the midddle overs. Its time to drop Jeevan mendis from the team. He is becoming another Kapugedera. Kusal should be given more chances before decide to drop him. Specially when Kapu getting 92 games, why cant we more chances to Kusal?

  • siri12345 on June 29, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    Wat is our media doing?couple of difficult questions need to be asked to sanath jayasurya?why was perera not selected?is angelo matthews afraid of competition from him?hopefully our media will ask questions to sanath at the end of the day media has a role and responsibility to improve the performance of our team

  • ibbani on June 29, 2013, 15:13 GMT

    srilanka cricket team and the selection team is brainless, They are playing Jeevan Mendis, Thirimanne, upto an extent Ajantha Mendis who is no more a mystery but a lollipop bowler and easy to make great cricketing shots to a stroke playing batsman. Kusal is good instead of Upul. India will win all their matches and will go on to win the triseries making the best team and SRL the worst team. In the last 3 years India/SRL has played 55-57 against and India winning 75% of them convincingly. So if they have to match the red hot Indians, they have to come out with some special spirited performance. Kula/Angelo are not effective except Malinga. So, bowling is another worry alongwith batting to the Lankan team. Sanga hit a century and won the match in the CT single handedly. But you cant except one batsmen every match to score and win match. Time for others to stpe up. Sanath - time to take bold decisions and groom young blood ahead of the WC in 2015 if SRL has any plan to win it.