West Indies haven’t had much to gloat whenever they have visited the Sri Lankan shores. On their past two assignments, when they visited for an ODI series, West Indies failed to obtain even a single win. But the modern story implies that a reversal in fortunes could very well be on the boards. The Caribbean outfit is high on reliance having blanked Ireland 3-0 at home lately but more importantly, they have done well in Asia by the end of 2019 which will keep them in good stead.
Having whitewashed Afghanistan 3-0 in India, West Indies sprung a surprise by convincingly defeating India in the very first ODI of the three-match series and pushed India deep in the series decider as well. In terms of quality, Sri Lanka is far off from being an established unit compared to India and there has been a constant change in terms of personnel as well. They were just comfortably beaten 2-0 in Pakistan which will give West Indies more hope.
The visitors will still miss the services of Shimron Hetmyer though who played a key role in his side’s strong performances in India. The dynamic young batsman has been dropped on fitness grounds and that allows Darren Bravo to re-establish himself in the ODI side. It will also add additional responsibility to the likes of Roston Chase, Nicholas Pooran and skipper Kieron Pollard in the middle order against the Sri Lankan spinners and Chase did kick off the tour in style with an unbeaten century in the practice game that the men in maroon won convincingly.
For Sri Lanka, this is a big test. Some of the first-choice players didn’t tour Pakistan recently and Dimuth Karunaratne is now back at the helm. Gunathilaka and Fernando are decreed out of injuries but allrounder Thisara Perera makes another comeback. There is sufficient expertise in the squad but it has to alter to outcomes in their favor. A win will not only benefit them get out of their current groove but also will expand their reliance big time ahead of a tour to England next month which will prove to be a test bigger than this.