Kumar Sangakkara guides Sri Lanka to 219/8 against West Indies

Kumar Sangakkara was unbeaten on 90 runs against West Indies in the fifth tri-series match in Port of Spain © AFP

By Shrikant Shankar

Port of Spain (Trinidad): Jul 8, 2013

Kumar Sangakkara‘s well-measured innings of 90 not out helped Sri Lanka post a challenging total of 219 for eight against West Indies in the fifth match of the Caribbean tri-series at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad on July 8, 2013. The match was reduced to 41-overs-a-side after persistent rain delays.

West Indies have to chase a revised target of 230 in 41 overs to win the match.

The match was scheduled to be played on July 7 but was moved to the reserve day due to heavy rain delays. At the time rain played spoilsport, Sri Lanka were at 60 for three in 19 overs after having been sent into bat by the West Indies. Lahiru Thirimanne was batting on 13 and Sangakkara was on 11. Kemar Roach had taken two wickets for 19 runs from his seven overs.

The resumption of the match on Monday also was delayed by constant rain. Then when the sky seemed to clear up, the match was reduced to a 45-overs-a-side clash. Thirimanne could add only 10 runs to his overnight score before being flummoxed by a Marlon Samuels delivery. The off-spinner bowled a quicker one, which hurried the batsman as he edged it onto the stumps. The duo had added 64 runs for the fourth wicket.

The heavens opened up yet again. When the play finally resumed, another four overs were reduced. Captain Angelo Mathews then added a crucial 46 with Sangakkara for the fifth wicket.

Mathews then tried playing a shot over covers while backing away to a Roach delivery. He only managed to find Devon Smith and was dismissed for a quick fire 27-ball 30 with two fours and two sixes. Roach then got his fourth wicket of the match as Jeevan Mendis edged one to wicketkeeper Johnson Charles.

There was a bit of controversy involved in Mendis’ dismissal. The batsman jabbed at a short of a length delivery as the West Indies players appealed for caught behind. The umpire raised his finger to the dismay of Mendis, who felt he hadn’t edged the ball. Replays were inconclusive.

Nuwan Kulasekara (14) then gave good company to Sangakkara in the middle. Sangakkara carried the innings beautifully. He got to his half-century with a single towards mid-off. This was his 76th ODI half-century. He then struck Tino Best for a six over long-leg with a brilliant pull and followed that up a four off another pull in front of square on the leg side. The pair added 54 runs for the seventh wicket.

Kulasekara then perished trying to follow Sangakkara’s attacking mode. He skied a length delivery from Jason Holder and got caught out by Darren Bravo. The innings ended with the wicket of Sachithra Senanayake off the last ball. He top-edged a slower bouncer from Kieron Pollard straight to Darren Bravo at third-man.

Sangakkara finished with 90 off just 95 deliveries with six fours and one six. It was an innings of pure determination from the left-hander. He guided Sri Lanka from a difficult situation to a position of strength in the match.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 219 for 8 in 41 overs (Kumar Sangakkara 90*, Angelo Mathews 30; Kemar Roach 4 for 27, Jason Holder 2 for 50) vs West Indies.

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(Shrikant Shankar previously worked with Mobile ESPN, where he did audio commentary for many matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20. He has also written many articles involving other sports for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)