West Indies will seek a consolation win in the third and final One-Day International against Sri Lanka in Pallekele on Saturday (November 7), having already lost the first two matches and the series.
Sri Lanka’s two victories came in contrasting fashions. In the first match, the home side overcame a stiff West Indies challenge and edged past by one wicket in a thrilling contest, before chasing down a seemingly steep target with ease in the second ODI.
Having already lost the Test series 2-0, the West Indies will set out to recover some of its standing in final ODI before the teams clash for two Twenty20 Internationals.
The visiting side had several bright sparks in both ODIs but has not managed to seize the crucial moments. The injury to Andre Russell and Jason Holder’s one-match ban for maintaining a slow over-rate in the first ODI hampered the West Indies in the crucial second match. Holder will be back on Saturday to boost the side, but there is still uncertainty surrounding Russell’s fitness.
The West Indies, though, will be pleased with the form of some of its batsmen. Johnson Charles and Marlon Samuels scored brisk half-centuries in the second ODI, while Darren Bravo has been steady at the top. Holder’s men will, however, hope he can convert the starts into bigger knocks. Andre Fletcher and Jonathan Carter have managed just 16 runs from four innings between them and will have to turn their form around to assist the line-up.
On the bowling front, Sunil Narine took three wickets in an over on his return in the first ODI and threatened to take the game away from Sri Lanka before Ajantha Mendis pulled his side over the line. He was tidy in the second game as well, but the remaining bowlers have to step up if the West Indies wants to avoid a whitewash.
There are no such concerns for Sri Lanka. Tillakaratne Dilshan smashed 59 runs from 32 balls, with six boundaries and three sixes, to help Sri Lanka chase 163 in 26 overs in the first ODI, while Kusal Perera and Lahiru Thirimanne made 99 and 81 respectively in the second match where the host chased 225 in less than 37 overs.
The top three batsmen are in fine form but the middle order should ensure there are no collapses like in the first game.
Sri Lanka’s bowling is led by its pace pair of Lasith Malinga and Suranga Lakmal, who have taken six wickets between them so far. It also has a number of spin options in Sachitra Senanayake, Mendis, Shehan Jayasuriya, Milinda Siriwardana and Dilshan.
All eyes will also be on the weather as they have been throughout the series. The first two ODIs in Colombo were shortened due to rain, and the forecast for Thursday in Pallekele is not too promising either. If the rain stays away, Sri Lanka will start as favourite, but West Indies cannot be taken lightly.