Venue: Pallekele International Cricket Stadium
Date: Saturday, February 29, 2020
This will be the third and final ODI played by the West Indies in Sri Lanka on their current tour. This game will then be followed up by a pair of t20I matches before the Windies return home.
The first ODI was a thriller at the Singhalese Sports Club Cricket Ground in Colombo. After winning the toss and elected to field, Sri Lanka saw the West Indies reach a solid run total of 289/7 from their 50 overs. This includes Shai Hope putting up 115 runs off of 140 balls. With this target to chase the hosts took all but five balls to reach 290/9 to win by just one wicket.
The second match also ended in a Sri Lanka win, but it was a much The West Indies won the toss this time and put the Sri Lankans in to bat, hoping to remove them quickly. Instead, Sri Lanka went off, putting up a score of 345/8 from 50 overs. Avishka Fernando was especially impressive as he slugged 127 from 123 balls. The Windies never looked capable of running the total down and they were bowled out for 184 from 39.1 overs. Hope was their only player to mount any resistance before he was bowled for 51.
The Sri Lankan score of 345 in the last ODI was even more impressive when you consider they lost a pair of important wickets in the third over of the match. They were able to quickly recover from this, however, putting on a batting clinic. Kusal Mendis was just as important as Fernando in the innings, with the third-wicket stand of 239 being enough to basically set up the win.
One thing to consider here is that the Sri Lankans might make some changes to their lineup with the series already in the back and with an eye on the T20Is which are just around the corner. One such player is bowler Lahiru Kamara.
The West Indies know that a rebound performance is important here to salvage some pride – and pick up some momentum – before the T20Is begin. All eyes will be on Hope as he was the only threat in the West Indies batting attack last time out and he seems to be the only player that has really got to grips with the way that the wickets are playing on this tour.
The question is if the Windies will stick with their expected best side or if there will be rotations in the lineup to get playing time to some of the fringe players with the series already lost. If there are to be changes then we could see some time for Romario Shepherd and Brandon King in this one.
Sri Lanka has won eight of nine against the Windies and this is a team that they know how to beat. In three of the last four games, they have gone over 330 runs as the pace attack that the Windies are famed for hasn’t been working. The hosts aren’t great value at 0.60 with BetXChange but they will win here. Look for Hope to be the top batsman again for the tourists at 2.75 and for Mendis to be the same for the hosts at 3.30.