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Mendis, Dickwella lift Sri Lanka to 330

by   •  Last updated on 2020-04-13 16:58:42

Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Mendis scored fifties to propel Sri Lanka to a massive 330 for 7 in their tri-series encounter against West Indies in Bulawayo on Wednesday (November 22). It is the highest score for Sri Lanka versus the Caribbean side in the 50-over format.

With the breeze blowing across the ground and with a tinge of green on the track, Jason had no hesitation in opting to bowl. Shannon Gabriel further justified the decision by nipping out Kusal Perera in the third over, but what followed after that was plenty of leather hunting for the men from the Caribbean.

Gabriel generated plenty of heat in his first couple of overs and with the wicket of Perera, he had his tail up. However, a hamstring injury sent him back to the pavilion and kept him out of the field for 12 overs. He only returned to bowl in the 31st over, and by then the Sri Lankan top-order had shifted the momentum in their favour.

There was a certain sense of urgency in Sri Lanka's approach. De Silva and Dickwella kept the scorecard ticking with some sumptuous hits. The duo counter-attacked after the fall of an early wicket and took the initiative back from West Indies and in the process went on to add 105 runs for the second wicket.

Dickwella had shown glimpses of his form in the previous matches and he did not take much time to get going, opening his account with a well-timed cover drive. The positive nature rubbed off on de Silva as well and the pair had raced to 71 by the time the first powerplay ended.

Holder called upon his spinners to keep a check on the scoring rate and it was a combination of Ashley Nurse and Kraigg Brathwaite, who did a good job of containing the run-flow. The latter eventually prising out de Silva for 58 leaving Sri Lanka at 123 for 2.

Mendis started off from where de Silva had left, scoring at a brisk pace and playing the perfect foil to Dickwella. The pair rotated the strike and found the boundary at will as they added the second successive 100-plus partnership of the innings.

The West Indies captain was running out of ideas and he took the onus on himself to break the association. He brought himself on after the second drinks break and struck in the second over off his spell, trapping Dickwella for 94. The left-hander challenged umpire Ray Illingworth's decision and saw it being withheld as the ball was crashing into leg-stump.

Mendis took over the reins from Dickwella and started to smash the bowlers to all parts, especially Nurse, whom he hammered for three sixes, before he was dismissed caught behind six short of his maiden One-Day International hundred. Upul Tharanga and Sachith Pathirana chipped in with handy knocks to take the final score to over the 300-run mark.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 330/7 in 50 overs (Kusal Mendis 94, Niroshan Dickwella 94; Jason Holder 3-57) vs West Indies.