The penalty of bowling a no-ball cost West Indies the first one-day international against Sri Lanka which they lost narrowly by one wicket with seven balls to spare under the D/L method at the R Premadasa Stadium under lights.
Sri Lanka chasing a revised target of 163 went into the penultimate over requiring 11 to win off 12 balls and West Indies who were a bowler short following an injury to Andre Russell were forced to bring on Johnson Charles, a wicket-keeper/batsman who had never bowled in ODI cricket before.
The gamble of using a part time bowler at a crucial point cost West Indies the match as Charles not only started the over bowling a wide but off the fifth ball with Sri Lanka requiring eight to win he bowled a no-ball that cost his side three runs as batsman Ajantha Mendis ran two. Worse still the next ball was a free-hit and Mendis smashed it over deep mid wicket for six to signal a nerve-biting win for Sri Lanka.
Due to bad weather the match was reduced to a 26-over affair and West Indies put into bat first totaled 159-8 courtesy a fine knock of 41 off 24 balls (3 sixes, 3 fours) from Russell and an equally good innings of 36 off 13 balls (3 sixes, 2 fours) from skipper Jason Holder.
West Indies seemed to be in deep trouble at 42-4 in the 16th over after Suranga Lakmal had taken the first three wickets in a spell of five overs for 15 runs. However Russell and Darren Bravo (38) gave the innings some substance by adding 58 off 36 balls for the fifth wicket.
An excellent half-century from man of the match Tillakaratne Dilshan (59 off 32 balls, 3 sixes, 6 fours), his 46th in ODI cricket saw Sri Lanka off to an express start posting 46 off five overs – at one point they were cruising at 132-4 in 18 overs.
But off-spinner Sunil Narine nearly turned the game on its head by capturing three wickets in the 19th over to reduce Sri Lanka to 133-7. With Jonathan Carter chipping in with two wickets off successive balls in the 24th over Sri Lanka were down to their last pair Mendis and Lakmal to score the required 11 runs for victory, which they did putting up a plucky display to steer the team home. Mendis finished unbeaten on 21 and Lakmal was one not out.
Sri Lanka leads the three-match series 1-0. The second game takes place at the same venue on November 4.
A Fletcher c Dilshan b Lakmal 3
J Charles lbw b Lakmal 1
D Bravo b Mendis 38
M Samuels lbw b Lakmal 2
J Carter b Jayasuriya 8
A Russell c Gunathilaka b Mathews 41
C Brathwaite b Mendis 9
J Holder run out 36
D Ramdin not out 9
Extras (lb-4, w-8) 12
Total (8 wickets, 26 overs) 159
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-13, 3-24, 4-42, 5-100, 6-113, 7-130, 8-159.
Did not bat: J Taylor, S Narine.
Bowling: Malinga 6-1-20-0 (w1), Lakmal 5-0-15-3 (w6), Senanayake 5-0-25-0 (w1), Jayasuriya 3-0-15-1, Mendis 4-0-46-2 (w1), Mathews 3-0-35-1.
K Perera run out 14
T Dilshan c Ramdin b Brathwaite 59
L Thirimanne c Ramdin b Brathwaite 17
A Mathews c Carter b Taylor 13
D Gunathilaka b Narine 12
M Siriwardana c Brathwaite b Narine 7
S Jayasuriya b Narine 0
S Senanayake b Carter 7
A Mendis not out 21
L Malinga lbw b Carter 0
S Lakmal not out 1
Extras (lb-3, nb-2, w-8) 13
Total (nine wickets, 24.5 overs) 164
Fall of wickets: 1-46, 2-89, 3-104, 4-120, 5-132. 6-132, 7-133, 8-152, 9-152.
Bowling: Taylor 5-0-32-1 (w1), Narine 6-0-21-3 (w1), Holder 5-1-29-0 (nb1), Brathwaite 5-0-35-2 (w4), Russell 0.5-0-18-0, Carter 2.1-0-14-2 (w1), Charles 0.5-0-12-0 (w1, nb1).