West Indies vs Sri Lanka 2013 5th tri-series match Preview

The West Indies will aim to bounce back after the thrashing they received at the hands of India in their previous match © AFP

By Shrikant Shankar

Port of Spain (Trinidad): Jul 6, 2013 

West Indies will take on Sri Lanka in the fifth match of the Caribbean ODI tri-series at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad on Sunday. The West Indies come into the match after getting thumped by India in the previous match by a huge margin, while on the other hand Sri Lanka will be on a big high after completely outplaying India in Kingston, Jamaica earlier in the tournament.

West Indies still sit atop the points table with nine points from three games after winning two matches. Sri Lanka are in second position ahead of India only on the basis of net run rate. They have played two matches and have won one match so far. West Indies need a victory to be certain of qualifying for the final on July 11. Sri Lanka have to win to keep their chances alive.

West Indies’ loss to India in the fourth match proved the unpredictability of the tournament. It is curious that after four group matches, there has only been one close-fought game — India’s loss to West Indies on June 30. All the other three matches so far have been completely one sided. First, the West Indies thrashed Sri Lanka in the tournament’s opening match on June 28. Then Sri Lanka did the same to India before India’s victory over the hosts.

West Indies suffered a batting collapse against India on Friday. Before that their bowlers got a pounding from a Virat Kohli-led India. The bowlers were unable to get any early breakthroughs on a seaming pitch, especially after having won the toss. Shikhar Dhawan (69) and Rohit Sharma (46) put together a partnership of 123 runs for the opening stand. Then the West Indies picked up a few cheap wickets and seemed to get back into the game. Then Murali Vijay and captain Kohli took India out of a sticky situation. Vijay was dismissed for a quick-fire 27. After that is was the Kohli show. He went on to notch up his 14th ODI century and made the West Indies bowlers look ordinary. There lies the problem for the hosts. India reached a total of 311 for seven.

When the chase began, West Indies could not get going as the Indian bowlers picked up early wickets. Apart from Johnson Charles (45), no other top-order batsmen were able to apply themselves. Only later in the innings, Kemar Roach (34) and Sunil Narine (21) batted well to take the West Indies score to a slightly respectable total. They were bowled out for 171 and lost by 102 runs (via D/L method).

Sri Lanka would have keenly watched this match from their hotel rooms. They would have been hoping for a West Indies win, to boost their chances of qualifying for the final. After their six-wicket defeat to West Indies in the opening match, they changed their fortunes in their next match. They exorcised some of the demons they had against India with a convincing 161 runs win on Tuesday. Their batting, which suffered a collapse against West Indies, looked supreme against India. Upul Tharanga’s unbteaen 174 and Mahela Jayawardene’s 107 floored India. Even captain Angelo Mathews came good with an unbeaten 44.

Their bowling also looked compact. All their bowlers were amongst the wickets. However, the one area of concern with the Sri Lankan team is that the runs came once again from their wise old heads. Their inexperienced batsmen need to step up. All this bodes well for a completely unpredictable match. If the sequence of results follow the trend then this should a close game.

In the team news, Sri Lanka will most likely go in with an unchanged team to keep a winning combination. There might be a few changes in the batting order. Mathews promoted himself up the order against India, but the situation of the match was ideal for the move. The batting line up might be different depending on conditions and match situation. But one thing is for sure the opening combination will not change, especially after the 213-run stand in the previous match.

West Indies, though, might look to tweak the starting eleven. Middle-order batsman Devon Smith and fast bowler Jason Holder could be given a chance but the probability of that is slim. There is no need for West Indies to panic and hence will most probably go in with the same team, barring injuries.

Teams:

West Indies (Probable): Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo (c), Denesh Ramdin (wk), Darren Sammy, Kemar Roach, Sunil Narine, Tino Best.

Sri Lanka (Probable): Upul Tharanga, Mahela Jayawardene, Kusal Perera, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga.

Time: 19.00 IST | 13.30 GMT

(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)