North Sound (Antigua & Barbuda), March 15 (IANS) Darren Bravo’s (102) fourth ODI century, along with half centuries from Shai Hope (64) and captain Kieron Pollard (53 not out), propelled West Indies to a 3-0 series win over Sri Lanka. It is the West Indies’ first series sweep at home since 2014.
The victory also gave West Indies 30 valuable points and moved them up to sixth position in the International Cricket Council’s Super League table after six matches played in their ongoing qualification run for the 2023 World Cup in India.
After two consecutive century opening partnerships in the previous two matches between Evin Lewis and Shai Hope, West Indies this time slipped to 40-2 after the first powerplay. Lewis (13) and Jason Mohammed (8) were bowled by pacer Suranga Lakmal and spinner Wanindu Hasangra respectively.
Hope, however, remained a constant, going on to register his sixth consecutive ODI score of over 50 or more — the tenth man to do so, with only Javed Miandad (9) having scored more. He put on a crucial 109-run third-wicket stand with Bravo. Hope ended the series with 258 runs in three innings, winning the man of the series award.
Bravo’s 132-ball 102 also saw him register 3,000 ODI runs in the process. Along with Hope, they took the sting out of the Sri Lankan attack. After Hope fell to a catch at long-on, and Nicholas Pooran (15) shortly after that, Sri Lanka sniffed an opening.
This was quickly snuffed out when captain Pollard joined Bravo. The duo put on 80 for the fifth wicket off 71 balls. By the time Bravo was dismissed courtesy of a spectacular diving catch by Dimuth Karunaratne at extra cover, the game was never in doubt with Jason Holder ending the game with a six over the mid-wicket.
Batting first, Hasaranga and Ashen Bandara earlier in the day helped Sri Lanka recover and post a competitive total in an unbeaten 123-run seventh-wicket stand, after left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein (10-0-33-3) had rocked their middle order.
After they came together at 151/6 at the end of the 32nd over, the pair plundered 63 runs off the final five overs to take Sri Lanka to their highest total of the series
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 274/6 in 50 overs (Wanindu Hasaranga 80 not out, Ashen Bandara 55 not out; Akeal Hosain 3/33) lost to West Indies 276/5 in 48.3 overs (Darren Bravo 102, Shai Hope 64; Suranga Lakmal 2/56) by five wickets with nine balls remaining