The once champions of the world test and one-day arena crashed out of the ICC Trophy Tournament in Kenya this past Wednesday as they were heavily defeated by the mighty Sri Lankan Lions. What is more is that West Indies captain, Jimmy Adams didn't even take the field as he was confined to the sidelines where he nursed a torn intercostals muscle. There is not much, however, that even Adams could have done to prevent his team from enduring such a drubbing from their opponents.
Upon winning the toss, West Indies' replacement captain, the Barbadian opening batsmen, Sherwin Campbell asked his opposite number, Sanath Jayasuria to pad up. This initially appeared to be a good call by Campbell as pacer Mervyn Dillon made early inroads with a fiery spell that reduced the Sri Lankans to 10 for 2, removing both the dangerous Jayasuria (2) and the young genius Marvan Atapattu (2). However, just as West Indies felt that this was their day Mahela Jayawardene (72) and Aviska Gunawardene (132) smashed the West Indies' inexperienced bowling attack to pieces. Jayawardene played the leading role as he took only 71 deliveries to amass his 72 runs and he was ably assisted by Gunawardene who played a typically `Sri Lankan' innings as he displayed beautiful use of the wrists and some brawny hitting. These two blazed their way to a scintillating 160 run partnership from a meagre 27.3 overs before Jayawardene was dismissed from the Antiguan debutant Kerry Jeremy.
Gunawardene was the last of the Sri Lankans, dismissed in the 49th over by Nixon McLean but not before he put together another substantial partnership with a fellow teammate. The centurion and Russel Arnold (45 from 35 balls) were brought together in the 35th over and ten overs later they had cruised along to a 73 run partnership that eventually saw the Sri Lankan team to an indisputably healthy score of 287 for 6 from their allotted 50 overs. Meryn Dillon (2 for 46) and Nixon McLean (2 for 56) managed to claim a couple wickets each as debutant Kerry Jeremy was slated for 54 runs off his 10 overs.
West Indies needed a score from Lara if they were going to contend in any way whatsoever. However, the West Indies never got going and after just ten overs the West Indies were reduced to a paltry 41 for 4. Only Jamaican all-rounder Laurie Williams (41 from 59 balls) and Guyanese legspinner, Mahendra Nagamootoo (31 from 61 balls) scored any runs of substance as the West Indies were dismissed for an appalling 179 from 46.4 overs. The West Indies failed to put together any partnerships of any importance except for the 64 run partnership by Williams and Nagamootoo that came all too late.
It was a completely lacklustre performance by the West Indians who sported two debutants in Jeremy and the young Jamaican batsmen Marlon Samuels (brother of former West Indian opening bat Robert Samuels). Such disappointment can be more than expected as the West Indies seek to rebuild and to concretize a foundation that will take them through to the next decade. It is frustrating for all West Indian fans but patience must be found as our youngsters attempt to adapt to the giant leap from first-class cricket to test cricket.
Both Kerry Jeremy and Sylvester Joseph will be returning home to take part in the Red Stripe Bowl and will be selected for the Leeward Islands for the Zone B matches to be held in both Anguilla and Antigua.