By Indika Amarasinghe
A fabulous 91-run opening partnership by the Sri Lankan opening pair of Thilakarathna Dilshan and Kusal Perera dashed the opposition ranks to give a rollicking 30 run win for the home team in their first T 20 international played in Pallekele on Monday.
Kierran Pollard priced up the wickets of both openers and off spinner Sunil Narine bowled tidily to help West Indies gain a foothold in the match. Kusal Perera 40 off 30 balls, but breezy knocks in the middle order by left handed newcomer Shehan Jayasuriya (36off 22 delivery’s) together with experienced Dinesh Chandimal (40 off 19 balls) and Angelo Mathews’ 13 ball 37 lifted Sri Lanka to a mammoth total of 215 for 3 wickets – the highest ever T20 international total on the island – and set the scene for this emphatic victory in the end.
In fact, in the final overs, Sammy didn’t seem to have any time to pause or reflect in an attempt to stop the run-flow. In the end, the substantial score proved to be too much for the men from the Caribbean to chase down.
Thilakarathna Dilshan top-scored for the Sri Lankans with 56 off 37 balls. Dilshan, who had earlier become the first Sri Lanka batsman to reached 1500 T20 international runs, completed a 28-ball half-century in the tenth over.
Each of the five Sri Lankan batsmen to come to the crease scored at least 35 runs each. The strike rate of each of the run scoring Sri Lankan batsmen topped 130 plus.
Despite Andre Fletcher cracking 57 off 25 balls in response, Dwayne Bravo and Kierran Pollard and Andre Russel made some towering hits the visitors tumbled towards defeat. It was the spin duo of Sachithra Senanayake and Milinda Siriwardana, who ended West Indies’ surge by sharing six wickets between them. However, for a brief period, opener Fletcher was punishing the Sri Lankan bowlers to all parts of the field as West Indies showed they are back in the game. However, he fell to a slower one from young speedster Dushmantha Chameera who bowled with sheer pace, his deliveries reaching a speed of almost 150 kmph.
Siriwardana then dismissed Andre Russell with a Yorker. Bravo and Pollard put on a quick fire 51-run fifth-wicket stand, which produced four fours and four sixes. Then the middle order collapsed to spin. Bravo was caught behind, while Pollard, Darren Sammy and Jason Holder all holed out near the boundary attempting to clear the ropes.
Spinners Sachithra Senanayaka took four wickets, two of them came in consecutive balls. Milinda Siriwardana took two and Shehan Jayasuriya snapped up the last wicket of Sunil Narine, dismissed by a doosra to bowl out the West Indies for185 in the penultimate over.
West Indies go 0-1 down in the two-match series, and are still searching for their first win on tour.
Scores- Sri Lanka 215 for 3 (Dilshan 56, Kusal Perera 40,Shehan Jayasuriya 36, Chandima 40n.o, Mathews 37n.o) beat West Indies 185 (Fletcher 57, Senanayake 4-46) by 30 runs