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WI clinch ODI series with game to spare, as Lewis and Hope break opening record—again!

Two days after setting a record opening stand against Sri Lanka, Evin Lewis and Shai Hope raised the bar further still with a new landmark partnership of 192 runs, as West Indies defeated Sri Lanka by five wickets at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

West Indies made 274-5 off 49.4 overs in reply to Sri Lanka’s 273-8 off their 50 overs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match One Day International (ODI) series.

Photo: West Indies opener Evin Lewis hits to the boundary during the 2nd ODI against Sri Lanka at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on 12 March 2021.
(Copyright Randy Brooks/AFP via Getty Images)

“It was a total team performance,” said West Indies captain Kieron Pollard, who also led the hosts to a 2-1 T20 triumph over Sri Lanka last weekend. “Our best chance was chasing so it was good to see the boys sticking to their plans.”

West Indies won the toss and elected to field. And Sri Lanka opener Danushka Gunathilaka, who was controversially dismissed for obstructing the field on Wednesday, responded with the bat as he hit 96 runs from as many balls to lead the tourists—before being bowled by Jason Mohammed.

Dinesh Chandimal (71) and Wanindu Hasaranga (47) also sparkled, although captain Dimuth Karunaratne felt they might have done better still.

“We lost early wickets but the two batsmen who got runs couldn’t convert it,” said Karunaratne.

Once more, West Indies’ openers gave the Sri Lanka bowlers a nightmarish start. On Wednesday, Hope (110) and Lewis (65) combined to score 143 for the first wicket. Today, they managed 192—the highest partnership for any wicket at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

Photo: West Indies opener Shai Hope drives for four runs during the 1st ODI against Sri Lanka at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in North Sound, Antigua on 10 March 2021.
(Copyright Randy Brooks/AFP via Getty Images)

Lewis made 103 from 121 balls, with eight fours and four sixes. It was his fourth ODI century and enough for the CG Insurance Man of the Match award.

“I have been working hard and training hard to get back to this level and I feel very proud at the moment,” Lewis told the CWI Media. “I always try to get the team off to the best start in the powerplay. I think this wicket is one of the best for batting in the Caribbean and I’m very happy to get a hundred and win the match and the series.”

Hope managed 84 off 108 balls, which was his 18th ODI half century and maintains a remarkable hot streak since 2019. Sri Lanka bowlers must wince at the sight of the wicketkeeper batsman. His last five knocks against the South Asia nation have yielded: 115, 51, 72, 110, and 84.

Still, West Indies suffered another middle order wobble and it took an unbeaten 35 from 38 balls by Nicholas Pooran to see them home—and, in the process, help the hosts to their most successful run chase at the venue.

Photo: West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran (left) celebrates during his decisive knock against Sri Lanka in the second ODI at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on 12 March 2021.
Looking on is Sri Lanka wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal.
(Copyright Randy Brooks/AFP via Getty Images)

West Indies needed nine to win in the final over. Pooran drove the second ball through covers for four and hit the third through the point region for another boundary before taking a single, which secured their 30th ODI win from 62 matches against Sri Lanka.

“The spinners are expected to take wickets, but West Indies batted really well,” said Karunaratne. “We lacked wicket-taking options and that’s why we couldn’t put pressure on West Indies.”

Sri Lanka will get a chance for a consolation win on Sunday before the two Test series starts on 21 March.

(Summarised scores)

West Indies won by five wickets with two balls to spare

Sri Lanka 273-8 (Dinesh Chandimal 71, Wanindu Hasaranga 47; Jason Mohammed 3 for 47, Alzarri Joseph 2 for 42);

West Indies 274-5 (Evin Lewis 103, Shai Hope 84; Thisara Perera 2 for 45, Nuwan Pradeep 2 for 66).

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