Sri Lanka put a dominant performance in the second One-Day International (ODI) in Hambantota to hand West Indies a 161-run defeat, which is their biggest winning margin in terms of runs. With this win, the Lankans have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. Kusal Mendis (119) and Avishka Fernando (127), who put up a record-breaking 239-run stand for the third wicket set up the match beautifully for Sri Lanka. The wrist spinners Lakshan Sandakan and Wanindu Hasaranga then spun a web around the West Indies batsmen to deny them getting anywhere close to the target.
Barring Shai Hope (51) and Nicholas Pooran (31), the others didn't get off to a start, which eventually led to West Indies' downfall.
In pursuit of a mammoth 346, West Indies got off to a cautious, yet steady start. They brought up their fifty in the ninth over, but with 346 to chase, they needed at least one of them to play a long innings. A mix-up led to the dismissal of Sunil Ambris (17) at the non-striker's end, which gave Sri Lanka their first breakthrough after they had put up 64 runs for the first wicket.
It was business as usual for Shai Hope who scored yet another fifty, but soon was dismissed by Angelo Mathews for 51. Sri Lanka struck again three overs later, this time it was the hero with the bat from the first match, Hasaranga, who removed Darren Bravo for seven, with a wrong 'un. West Indies' required run-rate had gone over 8.5 and needed their middle and lower order to fire.
However, Hasaranga's googlies did the trick once again as he got rid of Kieron Pollard for a first-ball duck and removed former skipper Jason Holder too shortly afterwards with the same delivery. Nicholas Pooran, was fighting a lone battle and was soon running out of partners. He could not hold out for more time as he was caught at deep square leg attempting an extravagant sweep shot for 31. With Pooran's wicket, whatever little chance West Indies had of getting close to Sri Lanka's total vanished.
A floodlight failure just delayed the inevitable as West Indies fell short by a handsome margin.
Earlier, brilliant centuries from Mendis and Fernando propelled Sri Lanka to 345 for 8 from their 50 overs in the second ODI. West Indies started off well, but the 239-run stand for the third wicket between Mendis and Fernando ensured that the hosts put up a formidable total on the board.
After going wicketless in the previous match, Sheldon Cottrell struck twice in his second over removing Dimuth Karunaratne (1) and Kusal Perera (0) off back-to-back deliveries. Fernando and Mendis were playing some delightful strokes, which gave them a hope of resurrecting their innings after losing two early wickets. The duo steadied the ship and ended the first powerplay at 49 for 2 - a decent effort considering the start.
Fernando and Mendis went from strength to strength after that and went past their 50-run stand. They were well set despite of the fact that West Indies had used all possible combinations against them. Fernando brought up his fifty off 54 deliveries, Mendis too followed suit soon and Sri Lanka brought up their 100 in quick time. They were cruising at a run-rate of over five, the platform was set for them to get a big score. They had gone past Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers' effort to set up the second highest third wicket partnership in Hambantota.
Fernando and Mendis added another feather to their caps as their stand was the highest for Sri Lanka since 2018, going past the 177 by Shehan Jayasuriya and Dasun Shanaka which they put up for the sixth wicket against Pakistan in Karachi. This was also only the second 150-plus stand for this wicket in Hambantota.
Mendis was the first to bring up his second ODI hundred off 107 deliveries and soon, along with Fernando brought up his 200-run stand, which is indeed a rare sight for Sri Lanka. Fernando too brought up his century off 109 balls. Sri Lanka looked well poised to get a score in excess of 300.
The hosts were scoring at over six an over going into the final 10 overs and with as many as eight wickets in hand, they had the chance to completely bat West Indies out of the game. There was little consolation for West Indies after they got rid of Mendis for 119. He had put on 239 for the third wicket with Fernando, which is the highest third wicket stand for Sri Lanka in ODIs. Fernando, who was batting right from the start was eventually dismissed for 127 off 123 with around eight overs left.
West Indies did manage to get a couple of wickets, but that did not stop Sri Lanka from posting a formidable 345. Sri Lanka scored 99 from the final 10 overs.