The Sri Lankan batters never showed that firepower and consistency in their game so far in the ICC World Cup 2019, but at a crucial stage of the tournament, the batting has certainly stood up. In the first half of their must-win clash against the Windies at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street, Lanka’s batting-led by Avishka Fernando’s sensational century posted a daunting first innings total on the scoreboard. The Windies bowlers, on the other hand, had a pretty tough outing as they struggled to find the right length.
Perera and Karunaratne provide solid opening foundation
Windies skipper Jason Holder won the toss and opted to bowl first as he reckoned that it is a fresh wicket and thus there will be assistance for the bowlers early on. The two Sri Lankan openers, Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera came out with a pretty positive intent as both the batters played their respective natural game with complete freedom from the word go. The opening duo added 63 runs in the first 11 overs to give a clear evidence of their intentions.
Kusal Perera reached his third half-century of the tournament and was looking in a solid touch to carry on from here. Windies skipper Holder then removed Karunaratne in the 16th over to provide his team with the opening breakthrough and in turn broke the 93-run opening stand as well. Perera, who was looking well-set at the other end, also got out pretty soon after scoring a 51-ball 64.
Fernando racks up maiden World Cup ton
The pair of Kusal Mendis and Avishka Fernando then got together to resurrect the Lankan innings. Both Mendis and Fernando showed remarkable composure to stitch an impressive partnership of 85 runs before the former got dismissed in the 32nd over. After Mendis’ dismissal, Fernando took the charge of the innings, notching up his maiden World Cup fifty.
Along with Angelo Mathews, he compiled a vital stand of 58 runs to prepare a solid platform for the final 10 overs. Mathews failed to convert his start of 26 runs into a bigger score, falling victim to Holder in the 40th over. However, even after losing his partner, Fernando never lost his focus and progressed to bring up his maiden ODI and World Cup hundred. Fernando played a sensational innings of 104 runs off 103 balls and stitched an important stand of 67 runs along with Lahiru Thirimanne.
In the end, Thirimanne remained unbeaten at the score of 45 runs and helped Sri Lanka finish with an imposing total of 338 runs in their quota of 50 overs. For West Indies, Holder finished with two wickets, while the trio of Cottrell, Thomas and Allen picked up a scalp each.
Sri Lanka 338/6 in 50 overs (Avishka Fernando-104, Kusal Perera-64, Lahiru Thirimanne-45*; Jason Holder 2/59) vs Windies.