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.

 

 

 

 

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