Kusal, Thirimanne lead Sri Lanka to series win

CRICKET-SRI-WIS-ODIKusal Perera struck a 99 lit up by flashes of aggression, but tempered by maturity, while Lahiru Thirimanne stroked a serene 81 not out, as the second-wicket pair’s 156-run stand made light work of a revised target of 225 in the second ODI against West Indies. The match had been shortened to 38 overs a side, after rain forced an interruption of more than three hours 26.4 overs into West Indies’ innings. Johnson Charles’ searing 83 and Marlon Samuels’ measured 63 formed the guts of the visitors’ score.

The match marked a bonafide return to form for three Sri Lanka cricketers, playing in their favoured format. Thirimanne had been poor enough in Tests to warrant his exclusion last month, but was chanceless on Wednesday, prospering square of the wicket as fluidity appeared to have returned to his game. Kusal had had a bleak Test series against West Indies with the bat, but here delivered Sri Lanka to the doorstep of victory before miscuing a short ball one run short of his third hundred. A trimmer Lasith Malinga also appeared back to near his best, both with the ball and in the field, effecting two direct-hit run-outs off his own bowling. He collected figures of 2 for 43 from 7.4 overs, first claiming a wicket with his first ball of the game, then thwarting West Indies’ final sprint with his variation.

The victory hands Sri Lanka the series, with the third ODI to be played in Pallekele on Saturday. (Courtesy Cricinfo)

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