Fernando, Mendis crush Windies to clinch ODI series win

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Kusal Mendis (127) and Avishka Fernando (119) paired in rollicking, record 239-run, third-wicket stand. (Getty Images)

HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka (CMC) – Avishka Fernando and Kusal Mendis belted hundreds as an uninspired West Indies suffered their heaviest-ever defeat to Sri Lanka in yesterday’s second One-Day International, to concede the three-match series and extend their disappointing record of never having won a series on Sri Lankan soil.

Asked to complete their highest-ever successful chase in pursuit of 346 at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, West Indies crumbled for 184 in the 40th over, to surrender by 161 runs and fall 2-0 behind in series.

In-form opener Shai Hope top-scored with 51 and left-hander Nicholas Pooran chipped in with 31 but West Indies collapsed from 131 for three in the 29th over to lose their last seven wickets for just 53 runs in quick time.

They were taken apart by enterprising leg-spinner Wanindu Hararanga who snatched three for 30 from his 10 overs, and cunning left-arm spinner Lakshan Sandakan who finished with three for 57.

Man-of-the-Match Fernando, with 127 off 123 balls with 10 fours, and Mendis with a run-a-ball 119 and 12 fours, had earlier pummelled West Indies to propel the home side to 345 for eight off their 50 overs.

When left-arm speedster Sheldon Cottrell (4-67) struck in successive deliveries in the third over to reduce Sri Lanka to nine for two, the Caribbean side looked to be establishing an early grip on the contest.

But Fernando and Mendis paired in a rollicking, record 239-run, third-wicket stand to all but dash West Indies’ hopes of staying in the series, following their opening defeat last Saturday.

The loss was the Windies’ 10th to Sri Lanka in their last 12 meetings and put them on course for another series whitewash at the hands of the Asian side, following a similar result five years ago here.

Captain Dimuth Karunaratne (1) slapped Cottrell into Fabian Allen’s lap at point and Kusal Perera nicked the very next ball behind, to leave Windies with a dream start after they opted to bowl.

And in the next over, pacer Jason Holder found Mendis’s edge only for captain Kieron Pollard to floor the sitter at first slip, to let off the right-hander after he had managed only two.

West Indies paid dearly for the miss as Mendis raced to his half-century off 55 balls in the 21st over before storming to his second ODI hundred off 102 balls in the 37th over.

Fernando, meanwhile, brought up his fifty off 56 balls in the 20th over and followed his partner to his second hundred in the 38th over, off 109 deliveries.

The partnership was broken in the 41st over with the charge on, Mendis skying Cottrell for wicketkeeper Hope to take the catch running up to the stumps.

Thisara Perera then struck 36 from 25 balls to gather late runs for Sri Lanka as Cottrell and fast bowler Alzarri Joseph (3-57) sliced through the lower order.

Facing a required run rate of seven runs per over, there were hardly any fireworks as Hope and Sunil Ambris (17) put on 64 for the first wicket and with pressure building steadily, Ambris perished via run-out in a bad mix-up with Hope in the 13th over.

Hope, dropped in the seventh over on 31, hit five classy fours in a 65-ball knock but was too a victim of pressure, caught mid-on in the 18th over trying to clear the infield with medium pacer Angelo Mathews.

Hasaranga and Sandakan, bowling in tandem, then weaved their magic, spinning a web around the Windies middle order to engineer its collapse.

Left-hander Darren Bravo (16) mis-read a Hasaranga googly, played against the turn, and was brilliantly taken at slip by Dhananjaya de Silva moving to his right in the 2st over.

Pooran and Roston Chase (20) resisted in a fourth-wicket stand of 31 but the partnership required 47 balls and contained just two boundaries and by the time Chase was flummoxed by Sandakan in the 28th over and comprehensively bowled, West Indies were 130 for four and facing an asking rate of nearly 10 runs an over.

Two balls later in the next over, Pollard played down the wrong line to another Hasaranga googly and was bowled first ball and with six runs added at 137 for six, Holder suffered the identical fate at the hands of Hasaranga and was bowled for three.

Pooran, who struck three fours in a 41-ball knock, tried to counter-attack but holed out in the 36th over with the game already gone, top-edging a slog-sweep at Sandakan to be brilliantly caught by Mathews running around to mid-wicket.