Evin Lewis scored his fourth ODI century that helped lay the platform for the West Indies’ five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka with two balls to spare at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium earlier today.

Man-of-the-Match Lewis scored 103 and shared in a record 192-run first-wicket partnership with Shai Hope, who made 84, as the West Indies took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. It was the best-ever first-wicket stand at the stadium.

Chasing a challenging total of 274, after Sri Lanka made 273 for 8 in their 50 overs, Lewis and Hope kept the Sri Lankan bowling attack at bay for 37.2 overs that seemed destined to take the home side to another comfortable victory. However, they almost threw it away.

Lewis’ 103 came off 121 balls and hit eight fours and four sixes before getting out to stumped to the bowling of Lakshan Sandakan.

His dismissal seemed to lift the Sri Lankans’ spirits and they responded by tightening up on the West Indies, who managed to squeeze two runs from the next nine balls. The pressure continued to build and it yielded the desired results. At 194 for one, Hope got out caught at deep cover trying to push the scoring rate.

As a measure of how much Sri Lanka had slowed the scoring rate, the first 50 for the West Indies came up in just 54 balls, the second in 53 while the third 50 came up in 55 balls. The fourth 50 for the West Indies was made from 81 balls.

In this phase of the game, the West Indies lost the wickets of Darren Bravo for 10 and Kieron Pollard and Fabian Allen 15 each over the next 57 balls from which they managed 55 runs as they tried to rein in the escalating run-rate that had ballooned to 10 runs an over.

With Jason Holder at the other end, it was left to Nicholas Pooran to play hero and swing the match back in favour of the West Indies.

Allen had hit a six off Nuwan Pradeep to start the 48th over. He was dismissed next ball holing out to deep midwicket. However, the batsmen crossed leaving Pooran to face the next four balls from which the West Indies took 11 runs, 10 coming from Pooran’s bat via two fours and running two.

The little Trinidadian would finish the job in the final over off the same bowler with the West Indies needing nine from six balls.

After missing the first ball that was bowled wide of the off-stump, Pooran hit consecutive fours before clipping off his legs for the winning single. He would finish unbeaten on 35 while Holder, who faced four balls and was two not out.

Pradeep finished with 2-66 off 9.4 overs. Thisara Perera claimed the wickets of Hope and Bravo to return 2-45 from seven while Lakshan Sandakan finished with 1-36.

Earlier, Sri Lanka posted what turned out to be a competitive score, the foundation of which was laid by Danushka Gunathilaka, who scored a run-a-ball 96 that rescued Sri Lanka from 50 for 3 after Alzarri Joseph had removed Dimuth Karunaratne and Pathum Nissanka for one and 10, respectively within the first seven overs.

Gunathilaka, who was controversially given out for obstructing the field in the opening match on Wednesday, and Dinesh Chandimal put on 100 for the fourth wicket. He looked set for a hundred when Jason Mohammed bowled him with one that kept low to claim the first of his three wickets.

In fact, Mohammed claimed the next two wickets to fall - Ashan Bandara for 18 and then Chandimal for 71 - as Sri Lanka struggled to force the rate of scoring and seemed likely to score a little more than the 232 they scored in their eight-wicket loss on Wednesday.

However, a blazing cameo of 47 from 31 balls from Hasaranga de Silva propelled Sri Lanka well past the 250-run mark and with a little help from Perera, who made 19 before he was last man out run out for 19.

Mohammed had his career-best figures of 3-48 while Joseph took 2-42. There was a wicket each for Jason Holder and Akeal Hosein.

The final match of the series is scheduled for the same venue on Sunday.

 

 

 

 

Shai Hope celebrated his return to international cricket on Wednesday with his 10th ODI century that helped the West Indies cruise to a crushing eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

Eoin Morgan says Jofra Archer is a "huge asset" to England after the paceman hit out at suggestions he is not committed to playing Test cricket.

Archer is expected to be in the England side when they start a five-match Twenty20 International series against India at Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday, having missed the final Test at the same Ahmedabad venue due to an elbow injury.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan questioned Archer's desire for featuring in the longest format, comments which clearly irked the paceman.

Archer wrote in his Daily Mail column: "A lot of people are saying a lot of things about my right elbow, and so as the person the elbow belongs to, I would like to say something in response.

"Let me be clear about something: I've never changed my attitude towards playing for England. I've always wanted to play all three formats. That hasn't changed, and never will as far as I'm concerned.

"I always dreamed of playing Test cricket and don't feel I've had a bad game so far – yet unless I am taking four or five wickets in an innings, I am placed under scrutiny and some people start trying to decipher what's going on.

"Comments like 'he's not committed' or 'he's not good enough' appear as soon as you are not 110 per cent. I find it quite annoying how people read into stuff and form their own opinions.

"I saw one article from Michael Vaughan in which he said: 'If Jofra doesn't love Test cricket, England need to find out why.' We've never had a conversation about cricket, so I found it a bit odd. He doesn't know what makes me tick. He doesn't know what's driving me."

And white-ball captain Morgan said he has had no problems with World Cup winner Archer. In fact quite the opposite.

"He's a huge asset," said England's skipper. "He's a guy that bowls in three parts of the game and can be threatening whenever he comes on. He obviously has express pace, can bowl cutters, variations, and has a very good yorker. He's a huge asset in any format."

Asked if he finds Archer easy to captain, Morgan replied: "I do. He's always been engaging. He is a younger member of our squad that has different interests to the majority of our squad, because the majority of our squad is in their late 20s, early 30s.

"He loves enjoying what he does, in travelling, playing Xbox, playing cricket, playing in front of big, big crowds and he is a huge family man.

"The more I have got to know him: one, the better our relationship is but two, the more I have grown to enjoy his company away from the game because I have got to know him more. He's a funny guy."

Chris Gayle and Fidel Edwards have been recalled to the West Indies squad for next month’s T20 Internationals against Sri Lanka.

Mark Wood revealed he withdrew from the Indian Premier League auction so he could spend time with his family and to ensure he was not "goosed mentally or physically" in a big year for England.

Wood had put himself forward for an IPL stint at the highest base price (2 crore/£200,000), but opted out on the eve of the auction this week.

The paceman's decision came after he flew to India for the remainder of the Test series, five Twenty20 Internationals and three ODIs.

Wood, who was given time off after the Sri Lanka tour last month, says playing for England in his priority, with the T20 World Cup and an Ashes series in Australia to come after a busy summer on home soil - including facing India again.

The quick said: "I'm going to spend six weeks here in India and then it would be another eight weeks on top of that, so that's 14 weeks.

"We're in a strange situation with COVID and unfortunately you can't see your families during that winter period coming out with India, like we usually do. 

"I just wanted to be able to switch off, recharge and go back home for the second reason, which is being ready for England. 

"I've tried to prioritise that and think later on in the year we've got loads of cricket going on and I don't want my body to fail me or be a bit goosed mentally or physically going into the back of the year, with a World Cup, Ashes and big series against India at home.

"I wanted to make sure I was ready from that point of view and have some family time because this block is a long time away from home."

England all-rounder Moeen Ali was snapped up by Chennai Super Kings for £700,000 on Thursday and although Wood knows he may have missed out on a lucrative deal, the 31-year-old hopes to get another chance to play in the IPL.

"Obviously there's been some big names gone for some big money and never begrudge them that, I think it's life-changing money, so it was a difficult decision for me," he said on Friday.

"The plus side is you're not just going for money reasons, you want to prove [yourself] hopefully going into the World T20 and learn some skills. Plus I feel like I've got a little bit of unfinished business with the IPL, I feel like I didn't do very well well in one game for Chennai last time [in 2018].

"I'd like another crack at some point, I just didn't feel like the time was right. Every player has their own decision, but for me it was to prioritise my family and England."

Sam Curran has been ruled out of England's plans for the ongoing Test series against India because flying him in for the fourth match would have been too complicated.

It had been intended that Curran would travel to Ahmedabad to be available for what will be England's final Test of the tour, starting on March 4.

But the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Thursday that "making secure arrangements for such a journey proved too great a logistical challenge".

Surrey all-rounder Curran played in both of England's Tests against Sri Lanka in January, but he returned home after the series – alongside Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood – in order to take a break from the team's biosecure bubble.

While Bairstow and Wood have returned to training and are expected to be able to play in the third Test next week, Curran was given extra time off. The 22-year-old, who also represented Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, has spent extended time in team bubbles since July 2020.

England take on India in five Twenty20 internationals and three ODI matches throughout March, and Curran will join members of the limited-overs squad travelling on a charter flight on February 26. He will arrive too late to be considered for the final Test, the ECB indicated.

With no direct flights available from the United Kingdom, Curran would have had to make a stop-over on his way to the Ahmedabad Test. That would have added more risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus, while he would have had to isolate on his arrival in India had any other passenger on his commercial flights returned a positive test.

An ECB spokesman said: "To give Sam the best chance of minimising his risk of exposure to the virus, it was decided to delay his return so that he could travel on the charter flight with the white-ball squad members due to fly on 26 February."

Over 21 Tests with England, Curran has taken 44 wickets for an average of 32.52, while he has 14 limited-overs wickets to his name.

A superb, unbeaten century by Keacy Carty and a cameo from Hayden Walsh Jr, led Leewards Islands Hurricanes to a sensational victory over Barbados Pride in Match 3 of the CG Insurance Super50 Cup on Wednesday night.

Captain Jason Mohammed believes the West Indies substitutes sent to tour Bangladesh were simply not up to the task as the visitors suffered a 120-run loss at Chattogram today. It was their third straight loss in the three-match series.

West Indies fast bowler Alzarri Joseph believes he and his teammates need to strive to be better for the second ODI against Bangladesh that bowls off on Friday. The Windies trail 0-1 in the series following their six-wicket loss to the home side on Wednesday.

The West Indies suffered a humiliating six-wicket loss to Bangladesh in the first of three ODI’s today, going down by six wickets with 97 balls to spare in the match played at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka.

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