Fri, Jun 28, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Windies, Sri Lanka out to challenge champs India


With India enjoying an additional 48 hours to bask in the glory of their Champions Trophy triumph, the West Indies and Sri Lanka get the Tri-Nation One-Day International Series underway today at Sabina Park.

Both teams have points to prove after being steamrolled by the ODI kings over the previous fortnight in England.

For the Sri Lankans, this fixture marks just the second time that they are playing an ODI at major international cricket’s westernmost venue.

The only other occasion came at the 2007 World Cup when Mahela Jayawardene’s unruffled unbeaten hundred led his side comfortably past New Zealand in the semi-finals, only for them to be upended by hat-trick-seeking Australia in the final three days later in Barbados.

The West Indies were the first to feel the weight of India at their best at the Champions Trophy at the group stage of the competition before agonizingly missing out on the last four when Kieron Pollard’s dismissal just before the rain came at Cardiff left the Caribbean side trailing South Africa on the Duckworth-Lewis system.

While no-one wants to have to return to the sometimes bewildering formulae and calculations necessitated by Duckworth-Lewis, it will be no surprise if batting second and then staying ahead of the par score becomes a priority during the seven matches of this tournament.

An increasingly crammed international itinerary, coupled with the scheduling of the money-spinning Indian Premier League at a time when the West Indies would usually have been in action on home soil, means that this event follows the pattern of recent years with the almost ever-present threat of showers accompanying a series.

Yet whatever the conditions overhead, it is the situation on the ground that Ottis Gibson wants his team to focus on.

Despite the acute disappointment of the manner in which they missed out on a place in the Champions Trophy semi-finals, the head coach of the T20 world champions asserts that the players under his care “are taking more responsibility and are starting to believe a lot more” that they can go all the way in major competitions.

Having retained the same squad from the Champions Trophy, with the exception of Ramnaresh Sarwan and Jason Holder, the West Indies will again be looking to Chris Gayle to provide the firepower and momentum at the start of their innings. The additional motivation for the imposing opening batsman being that the will be performing in front of his fellow Jamaicans.

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