Tri-series: Weather worry as Windies take on Lanka in opener
Eager to leave their Champions Trophy eliminations behind, hosts West Indies and Sri Lanka square off in Kingston on Friday in the opening match of a One-day International tri-series, which also features India.
The West Indies were eliminated in the group stage of the Champions trophy after losing to South Africa via the Duckworth-Lewis method, while the Lankans were humbled in the semi-finals by eventual champions India.
Sri Lanka had beaten Australia and finalists England en route to the knock-out stage while the weather put paid to the Caribbeans’ hopes in a crucial match against the Proteas.
The teams have come into the tournament with almost the same set of players except that the hosts have left out Ramnaresh Sarwan and Jason Holder.
Image: Dwyane Bravo of West Indies with teammates
Photographs: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Lankans haven't played much in this part of the world
The Lankans were forced to leave out injured opener Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin has re-joined the West Indian side after serving his ban for wrongly claiming a catch against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy.
The Lankans haven’t played much in this part of the world. The last time they competed here was in the 2007 World Cup but the conditions may support their spin-oriented attack, which also has Ajantha Mendis, who of late is being labelled a Twenty20 specialist.
Like the Champions Trophy, the weather is a matter of concern here too, and if the rain gods allow a full game, it will be an interesting contest between the West Indies batting and Sri Lankan bowlers.
The spin trio of Ajantha Mendis, Sachithra Senanayake and Rangana Herath will pose a threat to the Caribbeans, who will rely on good starts by the flamboyant Chris Gayle.
The Lankan batting will once again revolve around the ever-reliable senior duo of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
Image: Mahela Jayawardene
Windies full of potent match-winning all-rounders
The Caribbean line-up, led by Dwayne Bravo, is full of potent match-winning all-rounders and the home conditions should give them extra confidence and motivation to do well.
West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson said they were "gutted" with what happened in England but reposed full faith in his players.
"It's to put those silly little mistakes that we made in England, sort of put them away. We felt we had a good opportunity to win that tournament and we want to win this one and prove ourselves right," he said ahead of the clash.
Gibson said his "players are taking more responsibility and are starting to believe a lot more" in their ability to do well as a team.
West Indies skipper Dwayne Bravo said confidently that his side has a good chance of winning the tournament.
"It's always good to play home in the Caribbean, starting here in Jamaica, (and) we have a good record here. We have Sri Lanka on Friday. We want to start well, aim to get into the final, but it's not going to be easy.
"We respect both teams and their positions, and for me as a captain it is to try and get the guys (playing) as consistently as possible and get them to believe in themselves, believe in each other, so we can play some good cricket and entertain our fans," Bravo said.
West Indies: Dwayne Bravo (C), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Christopher Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels and Devon Smith.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (C), Kusal Perera, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne, Mahela Jayawardene, Jeevan Mendis, Ajantha Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Sachithra Senanayake, Rangana Herath, Dilhara Lokuhettige and Shaminda Eranga.
Image: West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo on his knees
Photographs: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images