Chester-le-Street, 2 July, 2019: Avishka Fernando’s maiden hundred in a solid batting display powered Sri Lanka to an imposing 338 for six against West Indies in an inconsequential World Cup match here Monday.
Sent into bat, Sri Lanka’s top order fired in unison with Fernando hitting a 103-ball 104, the first century for the Island nation in this world cup. His innings was studded with nine fours and two sixes.
Opener Kusal Perera sent the ball eight times across the fence on the way to a 51-ball 64.
Fernando played the role of sheet anchor, stitching 85 runs with Kushal Mendis and then sharing 58 and 67 with Angelo Mathews (26) and Lahiru Thirimanne (45 off 33), respectively, as Sri Lanka went beyond 250 for the first time in the tournament.
With both teams already out of contention for a semifinal spot, Sri Lanka played with freedom as openers Karunaratne and Kusal Perera amassed 91 runs for no loss in 15 overs.
After skipper Jason Holder removed his West Indies counterpart Dimuth Karunaratne (32), Kushal Perera too was back after getting run out.
Kushal Mendis and Fernando then took Sri Lanka close to 200 before a remarkable caught-and-bowl effort by left-arm spinner Fabian Allen, in the 32nd over, ended the former’s stay.
Mathews came up with an enterprising 20-ball 26 before a perfect yorker by Holder sent him back in the 40th over.
Fernando and Thirimanne then joined hands to help Sri Lanka cross the 300-mark.
Fernando completed his hundred in the 48th over with a couple of runs off Carlos Brathwaite but soon holed out to Allen off Cottrell’s bowling.