Time for West Indies Vs Sri Lanka 2021 Test Series Review—one of the most competitive series in recent times.
A dream for neutral fans. This series just had so many moments!
- The return of Fidel Edwards, Gayle, and Dwayne Bravo to the T20I setup
- Akila Dananjaya’s hat-trick & Kieron Pollard’s 6 sixes (in the same game), Hasaranga’s guile, Holder & Allen’s finishing abilites
- West Indies’ rising HOPE (tons for Hope-Lewis-Darren Bravo)
- Suranga Lakmal’s toil, Thirimanne’s resurgence, Dickwella’s non-hundred
- Cornwall’s counterattack, another Bonner-Mayers-Silva 5th Day Test match, Kraigg Brathwaite’s marathon batting effort
- Curtly Ambrose & Ian Bishop on commentary.
Without further ado, here is the series review for you!
Read till the end for my picks for World T20 World Cup Squad Predictions, video highlights, best moments, emerging players, and much more!
Results – West Indies Vs Sri Lanka
T20I Series: West Indies Win 2-1
* Player of Match
- West Indies won by 4 wickets *Kieron Pollard
- Sri Lanka won by 43 runs*PWH de Silva
- West Indies won by 3 wickets*Fabian Allen
|Player of Series||West Indies||Sri Lanka|
|Most Runs||Lendl Simmons – 73|
(best of 26, 140.38 SR)
|Pathum Nissanka – 81 runs |
(best of 39, 115.71 SR)
|Most Wickets||Obed McCoy – 4 wickets|
(best of 2/25, 7.33 Economy)
|PWH de Silva (Hasaranga) – 8 wickets|
(best of 3/12, 3.50 Economy)
ODI Series: West Indies Win 3-0
- West Indies won by 8 wickets*Shai Hope
- West Indies won by 5 wickets*Evin Lewis
- West Indies won by 5 wickets*Darren Bravo
|Player of Series||West Indies |
|Most Runs||Shai Hope – 258 runs|
(best of 110, 100s-1, 50s-2, 86.00 average, 82.42 SR)
|Danushka Gunathilaka -187 runs|
(best of 96, 50s-2, 62.33 average, 95.89 SR)
|Most Wickets||Jason Mohammed – 6 wickets|
(best of 3/47, 18.00 average, 4.50 Economy)
|Thisara Perera – 3 wickets|
(best of 2/45, 24.00 average, 6.00 economy)
Test Series: Drawn 0-0
|Player of Series||West Indies||Sri Lanka |
|Most Runs||Kraigg Brathwaite – 237 runs|
(best of 126, 100-1, 50s-1, average 59.25, balls faced 674)
|Lahiru Thirimanne – 240 runs|
(best of 76, 50s-3, 60.00 average, balls faced 601)
|Most Wickets||Kemar Roach – 9 wickets|
(best innings 3/47, best match 6/121, 23.55 average, 73 overs bowled)
|Suranga Lakmal – 11 wickets|
(best innings 5/47, best match 6/156, 1 5-fer, 21.45 average, 92 overs bowled)
1. A Tale of Three Captains: Holder, Pollard, Brathwaite
After West Indies’ remarkable victory against Bangladesh, stand-in Kraigg Brathwaite was made the permanent captain, replacing Jason Holder. Any claims of clash of egos, however, was much unfounded. Each of them contributed with the bat and Holder was even vocal on the field. Here is how they performed:
- Pollard: 38 (11) w/ 6 sixes in 1st T20I, 53* (42) in 3rd ODI
- Brathwaite: In Bangladesh, he scored 76 & 20 and 47 & 6. Stable but no daddy hundreds. This time, he made amends with 126 (311) & 85 (196). His 813 minutes marathon effort broke the all-time West Indies record, surpassing the likes of Darren Bravo, Brian Lara, Desmond Haynes, & Gordon Greenidge.
- Holder: He might not be the captain of the West Indies, but showed that he is still the #1 Test All-Rounder in the world. With 5/72 & 5th day match-saving contributions of 18* and 71* in the two Tests, his calm influence was evident. In the T20Is, scores of 29* and 14* might not look like much, but defending Hasaranga in the 18th over, so Fabian Allen could finish it off with 3 sixes was one of my moments of the series.
2. The Return of Hope to West Indies Cricket
110, 84, & 64—Hope is back. With 10 centuries, 19 50s, & 53.74 average, he is one of best ODI batsman in recent times along with Babar Azam & Virat Kohli. With John Campbell struggling for runs, expect a Test recall.
When Hope does not score a ton, Evin Lewis will. Returned with 65 & 103. When neither of them scored a hundred, Darren Bravo came back with a ton.
Their strike rates were in question, but healthy top order partnerships is the positive for the Windies.
3. Nkrumah Bonner-Kyle Mayers Partnership No Fluke
At the age of 32, Bonner has toiled hard enough in first class cricket. Bonner narrowly missed his ton in Bangladesh with 86 & 90 in Bangladesh, but his dream came true with a 113* in the first test.
A couple of 50s for Kyle Mayers & handy partnerships with Joshua de Silva shows that the Bangladesh tour was no fluke.
4. A Word on Rakheem Cornwall
Time to appreciate Rakheem Cornwall. Bowled his heart out in the spinning pitches of Bangladesh, and without his counter-attacking knocks of 61 & 73, West Indians might have lost 0-2 against Sri Lanka at home. Let Rakheem be Rakheem.
1. Suranga Lakmal Bowls His Heart Out Yet Again
Suranga Lakmal could have easily slotted in one of the great Sri Lankan teams of the past. Unfortunately, after Herath’s retirement, he has to single handedly carry the Sri Lankan bowling on his shoulders. Highest wicket-taker across both sides and bowling 92 overs as a fast bowler in 2 tests—Commendable effort.
2. Hasaranga & Nissanka the Find For Sri Lanka
While Embuldeniya & Axar Patel bamboozled the English sides, the West Indies struggled against Hasaranga. If Sri Lanka are to progress further, watch out for the Embuldeniya-Hasaranga-Dhananjaya partnership.
Test century (103) on debut—Pathum Nissanka —take a bow! Followed it up with a 50 in the next innings. With Oshada Fernando also in good touch, finally good signs for Sri Lanka.
Talent ✔. Next goal — consistency.
3. Thirimanne Delivers A Decade Later
Thirimanne averages 25.87 now after a decade and 40 Tests to his name. Finally some consistency in the last four Tests with 2 centuries, 3 fifties (on this tour), a 43 & a 39.
Sri Lanka might have found a stable line up in Karunaratne, Thirimanne, Nissanka, Fernando, Mathews, and Dickwella. Speaking of Dickwella, so close yet so far. Scored his highest score of 92 (after 43 Tests). Brilliant character.
Squad Predictions for T20I World Cup
With 23-men squad for the T20I world possible now, here are my early squad predictions. A good mix of experience & youth for the Windies.
- Lendl Simmons, 2. Evin Lewis, 3. Shimron Hetmyer, 4. Kieron Pollard*, 5. Nicholas Pooran, 6. Rovman Powell, 7. Andre Russell, 8. Fabian Allen, 9. Kevin Sinclair, 10. Sheldon Cottrell, 11. Obed McCoy
Squad: 12. Jason Holder, 13. Chris Gayle, 14. Dwayne Bravo, 15. Andre Fletcher, 16. Darren Bravo, 17. Keemo Paul, 18. Alzarri Joseph, 19. Oshane Thomas, 20. Fidel Edwards, 21. Akeal Hosein, 22. Hayden Walsh Jr., 23. Kesrick Williams/ Chamar Holder
- Danushka Gunathilaka, 2. Pathum Nissanka, 3. Niroshan Dickwella (WK), 4. Dinesh Chandimal, 5. Angelo Mathews, 6. Thisara Perara, 7. Dasun Shanaka*, 8. Akila Dananjaya, 9. PWH de Silva, 10. Dushmantha Chameera, 11. Lakshan Sandakan
Squad: 12. Ashen Bandara, 13. Asitha Fernando, 14. Nuwan Pradeep, 15. Oshada Fernando, 16. Suranga Lakmal, 17. Ramesh Mendis, 18. Kamindu Mendis, 19. Dilshan Madushanka, 20. Suranga Lakmal, 21. Dimuth Karunaratne, 22. Avishka Fernando, 23. Lasith Malinga
|West Indies||Sri Lanka|
|Emerging Player||Fabian Allen||Hasaranga, Pathum Nissanka|
|Surprise Package||Darren Bravo||Lahiru Thirimanne|
|Broken Cricket Dream||Why Only 2 Home Tests?|
Chris Gayle’s T20I form?
|Angelo Mathews returns home |
Where Do They Go From Here?
Great Test cricket in recent times, and the West Indies Vs Sri Lanka series lived up to the billing—first 0-0 draw in the last 5 years. Sri Lanka follow this with two Test matches against Bangladesh in April at home(to complete matches from the pandemic).
With neither side qualifying for the WTC final, the next major tournament is the T20I World Cup. Gayle, Hetmyer, Pooran, Pollard, Bravo & Russell have reached for the IPL, while Sri Lanka has zero players in the IPL (once Sangakkara-Jayawardene used to captain IPL teams). In June, Sri Lanka will travel to England for 3 T20Is & 3 ODIs to prepare for the World Cup.
Finally, in Jan-Feb of 2022, England tour West Indies for 5 T20Is & 3 Tests, returning their generous favor of restarting cricket last summer.
Copyright (2021: 4/10/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – firstname.lastname@example.org
Image Courtesy: Featured Image – Own Work, Getty Images (Cornwall)