Mendis fire Sri Lanka to series-clinching win
Colombo: Ajantha Mendis and Thisara Perera shared seven wickets as Sri Lanka posted a 26-run win over the West Indies in the third one-day international today to clinch the series 2-0.
Sri Lanka showed the depth of their bowling line-up by defending their total of 277-9 and restricting the tourists to 251 despite resting attack spearheads Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan and Nuwan Kulasekara for the match.
Unorthodox spinner Mendis finished with 4-46 and seamer Perera with 3-36, while paceman Dilhara Fernando took 2-45.
Sri Lanka won the second match by eight wickets after the opening game was abandoned due to rain.
Perera strengthened his team`s position when he removed well-set Darren Bravo (79) and skipper Darren Sammy (three) in the space of five balls.
Mendis took the last three wickets, including that of Carlton Baugh, to complete the win, depriving Baugh (49) of his maiden half-century in one-day internationals.
Darren Bravo sustained his team`s hopes with a 125-run stand for the third wicket with Ramnaresh Sarwan (51) after openers Chris Gayle and Adrian Barath had fallen with no runs on the board.
Gayle was bowled first ball by Fernando, while Barath was caught behind in Perera`s opening over.
Darren Bravo and Sarwan applied themselves well to keep the Sri Lankan attack at bay for more than 22 overs, playing some attractive shots during their partnership.
The West Indies wobbled after the dismissal of Sarwan, trapped leg-before by left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, as they lost four wickets in the space 34 runs, including those of Darren Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (three).
Darren Bravo fell leg-before to Perera after cracking one six and nine fours in a 91-ball knock, his highest in 13 one-dayers.
Man-of-the-match Sangakkara earlier made a solid 75 to help his side set a challenging target despite Sulieman Benn`s maiden four-wicket haul.
Left-arm spinner Benn grabbed 4-38 off 10 tight overs to reduce Sri Lanka to 244-8 from a healthy 205-3, but Angelo Mathews smashed an unbeaten 36 off 22 balls to help the hosts plunder 27 in the last two overs.
Sri Lanka made a brisk start after being put in to bat as openers Upul Tharanga (39) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (30) made 54 runs for the first wicket.
Benn got his first wicket when he bowled Tharanga, but former skipper Mahela Jayawardene gave Sangakkara valuable support to steady the innings with a 95-run stand for the third wicket.
The Sri Lankan captain cracked one six and four boundaries in his 105-ball knock before being bowled by Benn, who then accounted for Chamara Kapugedera and Thilan Samaraweera.