Mathews flops again as Sri Lanka bank on young crop to beat Windies | Sunday Observer

Mathews flops again as Sri Lanka bank on young crop to beat Windies

7 March, 2021
Hasaranga de Silva is congratulated by his teammates
Hasaranga de Silva is congratulated by his teammates

The most highly paid player in the Sri Lanka team Angelo Mathews failed once again as newcomer batsman Pathum Nissanka and the highly skilled allrounder Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva took centre stage in a 43-run win over the West Indies in the second T20 International at St. George’s, Antigua yesterday to level the three-match series 1-1.

Opener Nissanka (37) starred in a 95-run stand with Dhanushka Gunathilaka (56) while Hasaranga chipped in with 19 and then plucked three important wickets while fellow spinner Lakshan Sandakan had the scalp of power hitter Kieron Pollard who smashed Akila Dananjaya for six sixes in one over in the first match.

Pollard made just 13.

Sri Lanka in turn successfully defended a total of 160 but the selection of Mathews to play in the most demanding form of limited overs cricket raised many questions after he had an appallingly poor series in last December’s T20 Lanka Premier League (LPL).

He made just 13 runs after contributing five runs in the opener as the team’s think tanks continue to go by seniority and names, a concept which is firmly rooted in Sri Lanka culture. Mathews was also clobbered for 19 runs in one over when he opened the bowling in the first match.

But Hasaranga continued to be the prized player he is by way of white ball consistency so far as he finished with figures of 3 for 17 that prevented the home team from going after the bowlers.

The West Indies were never able to threaten the Sri Lankans in the run chase as they lost wickets at regular intervals to be all out for 117 in the 19th over.

“The wicket was a bit slow. I tried not to give away any boundaries. That’s why I was able to bowl well,” man-of-the-match Hasaranga said at the post-match presentation.

The West Indies were 45 for 1 before they lost five wickets for 21 runs and never recovered.

The win by Sri Lanka brought to an end a string of eight defeats in T20 Internationals.

The series deciding match is on Sunday after which the two teams will play in a three-match ODI series before moving into the final two-Test series.