Perera shines as Sri Lanka thrash West Indies
Opener Kusal Perera fell just one run short of a century as he guided Sri Lanka to an eight-wicket win against the West Indies in the second one-day international on Wednesday.
Perera, 25, hit four sixes and six fours in his 92-ball knock before being dismissed for 99 in the rain-curtailed day-night game at the Premadasa stadium in Colombo.
The victory helped the hosts take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series after having won the opener by one wicket at the same venue on Sunday.
Perera, who was troubled by cramps, shared a 156-run partnership for the second wicket with Lahiru Thirimanne who chipped in with an unbeaten 81.
“It (cramps) has rarely happened to me but I kept the (wickets) in the first innings so maybe that was it,” Perera, named man of the match, said after the game.
“(Tillakaratne) Dilshan and I had a good start and when Lahiru (Thirimanne) came, I decided to rotate the strike and take calculated risks.”
Set a revised Duckworth-Lewis target of 225 in 38 overs after rain interrupted play for more than three hours, Sri Lanka cantered to the emphatic win with nine balls to spare.
The third and final one-dayer will be played on Saturday followed by two Twenty20 games. Sri Lanka swept the preceding Test series 2-0.
Perera, dropped on 62, ran out of luck when he holed out to Carlos Brathwaite at short fine leg off paceman Ravi Rampaul, much to the disappointment of the home crowd.
Earlier, West Indies opener Johnson Charles top-scored with 83 after the visitors elected to bat.
Stand-in captain Marlon Samuels scored a quickfire 61-ball 63 before being run out in the penultimate over.
The West Indies were off to a wobbly start with opener Andre Fletcher edging behind paceman Lasith Malinga (2-43) off the first ball that he faced in the game.
Jermaine Blackwood (9), making his one-day debut, also departed early but Charles steadied the innings in the company of Darren Bravo (21).
Charles raced to his fourth one-day half-century with a paddle swept boundary followed by a massive six over the long-on fence, Ajantha Mendis being the unlucky bowler.
Just when Charles looked set for a bigger score, he was trapped leg before by left-arm spinner Milinda Siriwardana (2-27).
Samuels, leading in the absence of regular captain Jason Holder who is serving a one-match ban for slow over rate, provided the late sparks with his quick hitting.
His dismissal triggered a batting collapse with three more run outs in quick succession that saw the West Indies being bundled out off 37.4 overs.
Samuels said the four run outs and sloppy fielding cost his side the game.
“Another 20 runs through those run-outs would have been crucial, but we dropped too many catches. Credit to Sri Lanka, they really batted well,” he said.