Mendis, Perera fire S.Lanka to series-clinching win

Colombo, Feb 6 (AFP) Ajantha Mendis and Thisara Pererashared seven wickets as Sri Lanka posted a 26-run win over theWest Indies in the third one-day international today to clinchthe series 2-0.

Sri Lanka showed the depth of their bowling line-up bydefending their total of 277-9 and restricting the tourists to251 despite resting attack spearheads Lasith Malinga, MuttiahMuralitharan and Nuwan Kulasekara for the match.

Unorthodox spinner Mendis finished with 4-46 and seamerPerera with 3-36, while paceman Dilhara Fernando took 2-45.

Sri Lanka won the second match by eight wickets after theopening game was abandoned due to rain.

Perera strengthened his team''s position when he removedwell-set Darren Bravo (79) and skipper Darren Sammy (three) inthe space of five balls.

Mendis took the last three wickets, including that ofCarlton Baugh, to complete the win, depriving Baugh (49) ofhis maiden half-century in one-day internationals.

Darren Bravo sustained his team''s hopes with a 125-runstand for the third wicket with Ramnaresh Sarwan (51) afteropeners Chris Gayle and Adrian Barath had fallen with no runson the board.

Gayle was bowled first ball by Fernando, while Barath wascaught behind in Perera''s opening over.

Darren Bravo and Sarwan applied themselves well to keepthe Sri Lankan attack at bay for more than 22 overs, playingsome attractive shots during their partnership.

The West Indies wobbled after the dismissal of Sarwan,trapped leg-before by left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, as theylost four wickets in the space 34 runs, including those ofDarren Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (three).

Darren Bravo fell leg-before to Perera after cracking onesix and nine fours in a 91-ball knock, his highest in 13one-dayers.

Man-of-the-match Sangakkara earlier made a solid 75 tohelp his side set a challenging target despite Sulieman Benn''smaiden four-wicket haul.

Left-arm spinner Benn grabbed 4-38 off 10 tight overs toreduce Sri Lanka to 244-8 from a healthy 205-3, but AngeloMathews smashed an unbeaten 36 off 22 balls to help the hostsplunder 27 in the last two overs.

Sri Lanka made a brisk start after being put in to bat asopeners Upul Tharanga (39) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (30) made54 runs for the first wicket.

Benn got his first wicket when he bowled Tharanga, butformer skipper Mahela Jayawardene gave Sangakkara valuablesupport to steady the innings with a 95-run stand for thethird wicket.

The Sri Lankan captain cracked one six and fourboundaries in his 105-ball knock before being bowled by Benn,who then accounted for Chamara Kapugedera and ThilanSamaraweera. (AFP) PDS

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