COLOMBO—West Indies face the prospects of more inclement weather and a strengthened Sri Lanka side when the two teams meet in the second One-Day International at the R Premadasa Stadium in Sri Lanka, today.
The Windies may also be hampered by the absence of at least two leading members of the side who played significant roles in bringing them to the brink of victory against Sri Lanka in the opening ODI on Sunday.
Captain Jason Holder has been slapped with a one-match ban following the team’s slow over rate in the first game and Andre Russell is in doubt due to an abdominal strain.
The Caribbean cricketers need to win the match to stay in contention to win the three-match series.
“We lost the first match but it was a very close finish. We’re still upbeat,” declared acting coach Eldine Baptiste, in reference to the one wicket loss in the rain-affected cliffhanger on Sunday night.
“We fought our way back very well to make a match of it and we believe we have it in us to win here and level the series and also win the third match”.
Sunday’s match had begun as a regular ODI, but became a 26-overs-a-side affair following a three-and-a-half hour rain delay, after West Indies had reached 40 for 3 in 14.2 overs.
However a top score of 41 from Russell and a 13 ball 36 from Holder brought the visitors back into a game they almost won thanks to three wickets in an over from Sunil Narine and two wickets in two balls from Jonathan Carter.
“The way the weather is, interruptions might continue to happen,” said Baptiste
“We’ve just got to make sure we can be ready for whatever may come our way.”
Marlon Samuels will captain the West Indies team in the absence of Holder and he is expect to rely heavily on Narine and perhaps Carter to boost his bowling arsenal.
Carter’s two wickets in two balls had Sri Lanka nine wickets down on Sunday.
“Jonny did an excellent job coming on there and bowling for the first time. He nearly took us home as well,” said Baptiste.
“You just have to be encouraged and make sure they keep producing.”
Narine, who is rebounding after taking remedial measures to correct his bowling action, returned figures 3 for 21 in his first match in 14 months.
“Narine’s a professional and he’s put the work in since he arrived,” Baptiste said. “He’s participating very well. The way he has bowled given what he has been through is very, very good. His spell was excellent. It brought us right back into that game. A little more luck and we would have won that game.”
Dinesh Chandimal is available for Sri Lanka again, after having served his one-match ban for an altercation with Ishant Sharma in August and his return is expected to steady a wobbly middle order.
First ball in the day/night contest is 2.30 pm (5 am TT Time).