West Indies v Sri Lanka, tri-series, Port-of-Spain July 6, 2013

Jolted West Indies look to seal spot in final


Match facts

Sunday, July 7
Start time 0930 (1330 GMT)

Big Picture

West Indies' horror of a match against India on Friday has not only been an eye opener for them, but has also opened up the tournament. India's chances of qualifying for the final looked bleak after two consecutive defeats, but they trounced the hosts by a big enough margin to pick up a bonus point. West Indies are still on top with nine points and a game to play, and a win against Sri Lanka on Sunday will guarantee their spot in the final. A defeat will still give them a chance at qualifying, but it could come down to a three-way net-run rate scenario if the teams are tied on nine points. A win for Sri Lanka on Sunday will tighten the screws as it will at least put them on par with the hosts. It will also make things tougher for India, who are currently on five points with a game to play.

While West Indies are not yet in grave danger of being knocked out, concerns remain. For starters, they will be without their captain Dwayne Bravo, who has been suspended for a slow over-rate. In all likelihood, Kieron Pollard will take over for the second time in three matches. Nothing went right for West Indies on Friday. If looks could deceive, the pitch certainly did. The grass looked inviting enough for both captains to have a bowl, but the decision to insert the opposition backfired on Bravo as his seamers failed to pick up early wickets. The opening partnership was allowed to develop and the West Indies' death bowling was exposed by Virat Kohli. The batting suffered a bigger meltdown than the bowling, and while the afternoon rain may have spiced up the pitch for the Indian seamers to exploit, the hosts were struggling to get the start they wanted even before rain struck. Chris Gayle and Darren Bravo fell to poor strokes and the loss of two early wickets piled the pressure on the middle order, which looked just as inept. Perhaps the hosts lost the game in the mind after conceding 311. Perhaps batting first might not be a bad option if given the chance, going forward.

Sri Lanka have two more games to play, are tied on points with India but have a superior net run rate. They peaked in all three departments in their previous game, losing just one wicket on their way to 348 and all their five bowlers contributed in bundling out India for less than 200. It remains to be seen if they will change their batting order and give players like Lahiru Thirimanne more time in the middle.

In the spotlight

The over-rates in the last two games have been costing the captains and players, literally. On Tuesday, India overshot by 20 minutes leading to Kohli being fined and on Friday, West Indies were worse by one more minute. It was costlier for West Indies, with Bravo now suspended. Changing captains during a tournament could upset a side's rhythm and West Indies especially can't afford too many stop-gap arrangements, at a time when Bravo is establishing himself as a full-time ODI captain.

Sri Lanka's new opening pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Upul Tharanga was formed after Tillakaratne Dilshan's pre-tournament pull-out due to injury and that combination could stay at least until Dilshan returns. The question is whether Sri Lanka will be tempted to persist with it in future series, after their 213-run stand against India. Jayawardene has had success as an opener, but he hasn't been a regular at that position; Dilshan is most comfortable at the top and Tharanga will be hard to ignore after his 174. With Kusal Perera earmarked for the future, Sri Lanka might find it hard to settle on one pair, once Dilshan returns. It's a good headache to have.

Team news

Lendl Simmons, the opening batsman, was called in to the squad on Saturday as a replacement for Bravo.* West Indies could either play him or bring back Devon Smith.

West Indies (probable) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Johnson Charles, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Devon Smith/Lendl Simmons, 6 Kieron Pollard (capt), 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Darren Sammy, 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Tino Best

Sri Lanka may retain their winning combination

Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Mahela Jayawardene, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Kusal Perera, 4 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 5 Dinesh Chandimal, 6 Angelo Mathews (capt), 7 Lahiru Thirimanne, 8 Sachithra Senanayake, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Rangana Herath, 11 Lasith Malinga

Stats and trivia

  • West Indies have the better head-to-head record at Queens Park Oval, winning three out four games

  • Kemar Roach has bowled five maidens in the series so far, the most by any bowler


    "We've got to try and regroup as a batting group and try and figure out where we went wrong. We have a quick turnaround, the next game on Sunday is very important against the Sri Lankans and we can't afford to make the same mistake again."
    Dwayne Bravo

    * - 1815 GMT, July 6 - the story was updated with news of Simmons' inclusion

    Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

  • Comments have now been closed for this article

    • Dummy4 on July 8, 2013, 4:44 GMT

      In future Johnson become the best batsman in the world.WI should consider him as batsman only why WI wasting his talent.Lendl Simmons was the wicket keeper previously so use him as wicket keeper and give him batting chance also.Kieron Powell should be included he is good partner for Jonson Charles or Gayle.

    • Dummy4 on July 7, 2013, 13:33 GMT

      WI may have corrected their weaknesses by replacing Ramdin & inclusion of Simmons. Bravo is out means Sammy will get his full quota of bowling. Holder for Narine means they will short of 1 spinner. WI may be looking for strengthening their batting. As far as Samuels is bowling well then it seems they won't miss spinner in their line-up. Looks like more tough game for islanders than the early league game against WI as they have to bat first. Win against IND may not count other than boosting morale slightly as they are going to face much better attack than IND. Once again more work & dependency on Mahela & Sanga. Let see what will happen.

    • Kepili on July 7, 2013, 13:18 GMT

      @ tdslbuwa:S @ lesh: Thirimanne (45-ODIs: 31-innings: 822-runs: 29.35-Av: 71.29-s/r: 1x100 :5x50) is the second best one-down option (next to Sanga) SL has. A Solid opener by reputation, Thirimanne has been highly regarded by Sri Lanka's true cricket elites like Aravinda de Silva! Last month, SL stuttered into a Champions Trophy semi-final thanks to Thirimanne's batting skills at the top. He ad been promoted ahead of Jayawardene at horrible) 20 for 2 (after losing Kusal Perera in the first over and Sanga in the 3rd over, and the switch allowed the senior player to make runs in the later overs against the older-ball under less-pressure, after Thirimanne composed a superb, steady inning of 57. He has proved his proved his abilities in many occasions! He is a young player to be RETAINED !!! Jeevan Mendis is useless in all departments (rpeated failures in middle order) , a bowler like Sachithra or Shaminda Eranga would be a better, more useful choice!

    • Alex on July 7, 2013, 12:01 GMT

      Jahbert58, The reason that the WI batsmen have such poor "technique" is mainly due to the Bad pitches that they bat on year after year and no real "fast bowlers' coming at them . In the Caribbean we do have a "few" quick bowlers who refuse to bend their backs on these DEAD TRACKS that are given . All of the Caribbean batsmen are lost any time a ball rise above the waist at a good speed . Also , short outside the off-stump going away from them , again at a good speed . WI batsmen do not have the "sweep" shot , this is due to the fact of the umpires always give them out once hit . Most coaches tell the youth "cut out the sweep shot" . With these "new off spinners" , you must have that sweep shot if you want to last out in the middle .

    • Carl on July 7, 2013, 10:51 GMT

      Not a fan of the shorter format - although its purpose is certainly served in the wider context of globalisation and revenue, but whilst I wait (and long) for the next West Indies test matches, this tri-nation series has proven interesting, if only to observe the hazardous way that the selectors keep playing around with the captaincy and squad issues. At times, absurd - otherwise questionable to say the least. For today's game against Sri Lanka, it would be wise to finally consign Ramdin to the wings - let Lendl Simmons keep wicket, for he is competent and far more accomplished than his fellow Trinidadian with the bat. Stick with Tino and Roachy with the new ball - go at them hard and fast, for no batsman likes searing pace, whatever the ludicrous stipulations of the format. Mr.Pollard as captain? Oh dear, where on Earth do I begin...?

    • raymond on July 7, 2013, 10:39 GMT

      Bring on Lendl Simmons or Dw. Smith in place of captain Bravo. Go brave captain Pollard and get the Sri Lions. We are West Indians, please don't play that reckless cricket we played against the Kholi men, we can do it.Gayle this is your day.

    • Lalith on July 7, 2013, 9:41 GMT

      SL is short of a bowler to bowl few overs. This will be exposed in this game. Bring on Tissara. I do not know who decided to leave Tissara. Tissara should be given more opportunities.

    • Dummy4 on July 7, 2013, 9:40 GMT

      its time for Sl to remove all crap T 20 all rounders from ODI s and Test matches..likes of T perera,J mendis ,Lokuhettige etc..are useless just ask them to play crap T 20 s only..we need to have 6 decent batsmans and 5 decent wkt taking bowlers in the side to win matches regularly...otherwise we cant win without luck agnst good opns.select 6 decent bats from Tharanga,mahela(future replacement dimuth),K perera,Sang(Fr thirimanne),Chandimal ,Mathews and 5 bowlers-Eranga,Malinga,Kulasekara,Herath,Senanayake/mendis...this should be the team for SL s future Odis and tests..play 6/5 attacking cricket SL rather than damn boring 7/4 with useless T 20 all rounders ..

    • ESPN on July 7, 2013, 9:25 GMT

      West Indies will have to come very good against Sri Lanka this rounds because it appears the captaincy is causing them headaches adjusting to yet another inexperience captain when they have 3 previous and presently Pollard is struggling right now I don't think that extra pressure of being a captain is doin him good. They should of ask Sammy to stand in because you can see the body language on the feel of play with certain players. And Darren Bravo stop kicking the ball after taking a catch please.

    • Tahir on July 7, 2013, 8:19 GMT

      D/L made it difficult to chase 7 runs an over while initial rate was around 6.4 things would became difficult as windies lost wickets after the resumption. So, WI should keep patience. Also Bhuvi came back to bowling attack and he is regularly taking couple of early wickets giving few runs so he made impact. SL have bowlers of good quality certainly better then india pacemen and to face them is WI test.

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