Darren Bravo’s fourth One-Day International century guided the West Indies to a five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka and a clean sweep of the three-match series at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Sunday.
Set another challenging target of 275, the home side’s response was anchored by Bravo’s innings of 102 off 132 balls highlighted by five fours and four sixes.
He was the obvious choice as man of the match with Shai Hope the equally straightforward option as man of the series with the opener following earlier scores of 110 and 84 with an elegant 64 to set his team well on their way.
Sri Lanka, who made three changes to their team from the nail-biting loss in the second match two days earlier, fought to restrain a powerful West Indies batting line-up but in the end they were undone by the home side’s wealth of talent and experience.
Captain Kieron Pollard ensured there was to be no late stumble despite Bravo’s dismissal to seamer Suranga Lakmal just before the end.
He finished unbeaten on 53, having featured in an 80-run fifth-wicket stand with Bravo and watched with contentment at the non-striker’s end as the man he replaced as skipper more than a year ago, Jason Holder, hoisted a six over wide long-on off Lakmal to formalise the result with nine balls to spare.
In sweeping the series 3-0, the West Indies reversed the result of the corresponding campaign in Sri Lanka 13 months earlier.
Pollard led the West Indies to a 2-1 T20 International series win at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, also in Antigua, a week earlier and now attention shifts to the two-match Test series starting next Sunday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
– Hasaranga all-round value –
Wanindu Hasaranga further enhanced his all-round value with a blistering unbeaten 80 in lifting Sri Lanka to 274 for six batting first in the morning session.
Two days after blazing an unbeaten 47, Hasaranga featured in an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 123 with Ashen Bandara, who was on 55 at the non-striker’s end as the rampant Hasaranga belted three fours and a six off Holder in the final over of the innings.
Their partnership was a record for the seventh wicket for Sri Lanka against the Caribbean side while Hasaranga’s individual score, which came off 60 deliveries and featured seven fours and three sixes, was a record for a Sri Lankan batting at number eight in ODIs.
Hasaranga’s innings was all the more remarkable in that he was hobbled for much of it by a left leg injury which impacted on his effectiveness as a bowler in defence of the total.
West Indies were in complete control of the match before the pair came together in the 32nd over as the visitors’ middle-order yet again failed to capitalise on a decent platform.
Danushka Gunathilaka and captain Dimuth Karunaratne put on 68 at the top of the order after they were put in.
However, Gunathilaka’s demise to pacer Alzarri Joseph for 36 triggered a gradual decline to 151 for six with left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein taking three for 33 while Jason Mohammed snared his sixth wicket of the series by bowling Karunaratne for 31.
Seeking to avoid the sweep and earn their first points of the 2023 World Cup qualification table, Sri Lanka brought in seamers Lakmal and Asitha Fernando together with Dasun Shanaka in place of Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep and Oshada Fernando.
West Indies gave a debut to fast-medium bowler Anderson Phillip at the expense of Romario Shepherd. (AFP)