Encouraged Windies seek leveler against Sri Lanka

By Sports Desk February 25, 2020

The West Indies, despite coming up short in the series opener against Sri Lanka, will have plenty of positives to take into a must-win second ODI against the hosts, at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

The regional team would have been encouraged by its batting, despite the failures of the middle order, with most of the top four coming good before the lower order showed a lot of grit in laying the finishing touches to an innings that had lost significant steam.  Their bowlers couldn’t quite haul them to victory, but they pushed Sri Lanka to the limit, making the home team earn their win.

Sri Lanka will also have been encouraged, most notably the number of contributions they received from all around the batting order.  Now, the key for them would be to retain that level of consistency and seal the series, something they haven’t been quite adept at doing in the recent past.  But with the familiarity of home, and a hard-earned win to boot, they sure do have the belief that it can be done.

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    Resuming on 57-1, the touring side lost the wickets of Shai Hope (16) and Kraigg Brathwaite (65) but added 122 runs in the sunshine at an empty Rose Bowl to close in on England's first-innings total.

    Shamarh Brooks (27) and Roston Chase (13) were the unbeaten batsmen at the end of the first session.

    England's fast bowlers couldn't generate the same movement achieved by the West Indies' pace artillery over the first two rain-affected days, with the two quickest — Jofra Archer and Mark Wood — awaiting their first wickets.

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    Broad was England's leading wicket-taker in the 2019-20 series victory in South Africa and the drawn Ashes series with Australia last year.

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    England's second-highest Test wicket-taker is at a loss to understand why he was left out in Southampton, missing out on a home Test for the first time since 2012.

    He told Sky Sports: "I'm not a particularly emotional person but I've found the last couple of days quite tough.

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    Broad revealed he had asked national selector Ed Smith why he was not included.

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    "You can't argue the bowlers walking on that field don't deserve to play," Broad said. "Everyone deserves to play. Chris Woakes, Sam Curran were bowling really well and probably deserve to be in the XI.

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    "I just wanted to be really consistent to him. He was pretty settled and countering the line that we were bowling by walking across and walking down. I was getting just enough movement there to keep him at bay, and I wanted to keep him playing."

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    "They've done really well today and showed us the way to go," England paceman Mark Wood said. "We were in a similar position in the first innings and now we've got a chance to make it right like they did."

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