It is extremely difficult for any side to resume their innings a one-day game on another day since the earlier day was marred by rain. The conditions could be vastly different on both days, which would make things a bit unfair on the side batting first. It is thus commendable that Sri Lanka underwent this experience over the last two days in West Indies. On the first day, the ball was moving all around and kept the Lankan batsmen under check. On the second, things were much better, but the Lankans must still be praised for maintaining their rhythm.
Special mention must be made for Kumar Sangakkara, whose innings the tide Sri Lanka’s way. When rain interrupted their innings on the day before, Lanka were in all sorts of trouble having lost three early wickets. Bringing all his experience into play, Sangakkara held fort at one end. And when play resumed on the second day, he shifted gears amazingly. The elegant left-hander is not known as someone who murders the bowling, but over the years he has proved that he is capable of punishing the opposition if the need arises. Sangakkara did the same on Monday, thrashing the bowlers to all parts of the park.
Sangakkara’s brilliance can be easily gauged from the fact that all the other batsmen bar skipper Angelo Mathews had a tough time batting on the surface. A case in point, Lahiru Thirimanne, with whom Sangakkara had a decent partnership, managed to score at a strike rate of only 30 in spite of battling it out at the crease for over an hour. In the context of the game, Mathews’ cameo was extremely important. While Sangakkara was batting solidly, he needed some support from the other end, and Mathews’ knock gave Lanka the desired push.
While taking nothing away from Sangakkara’s superlative knock, it must be mentioned that West Indies’ bowling on Monday was nothing short of pathetic. Apart from Kemar Roach and Darren Sammy, who put the ball in the right areas, all the others were wayward. Jason Holder needed to support Roach on the day, but instead he kept bowling boundary balls. The more experienced Tino Best was even more worse with the ball, not allowing the West Indies to build any sort of pressure on the Lankans, who began the day on the back foot. West Indies conceded 24 wides and three no balls in 41 overs – that tells the sorry tale of their bowling effort.
West Indies could still have made up for their flaws had they batted with a degree of conviction. But, it seemed they were hell-bent on committing hara-kiri. Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Devon Smith and Marlon Samuels, all gave away their wickets inside the first 10 overs, and after that there was no way out for the West Indies. Darren Bravo and Lendl Simmons came up with fighting half-centuries, but with the rain around and West Indies behind the D/L rate, they were forever under pressure. It resulted in Simmons’ dismissal and put an end to Windies’ faint hopes of victory.
--By A Cricket Analyst