Fernando strikes maiden ODI ton as Sri Lanka set West Indies testing target
Fernando hit 104 off 103 balls.
Sri Lanka shrugged off their World Cup disappointment as Avishka Fernando’s maiden one-day international century carried them to 338 for six against an uninspired West Indies.
Fernando had flickered against England and South Africa without a decisive contribution but his 104 off 103 balls at Chester-le-Street was Sri Lanka’s first ton of the tournament.
England’s defeat of India on Sunday had the knock-on effect of ending Sri Lanka’s hopes of qualification to the knockout stages but they seem to have moved on from the setback quickly, posting their highest score of the tournament.
Their total was swelled by a lacklustre fielding display from the Windies, who won the toss under cloudy skies in blustery conditions, only for Sri Lanka openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera to lay a solid foundation.
Neither batsman was unduly troubled in a breezy 93-run stand which came to an end when Karunaratne wafted at a wider delivery and toe-edged Jason Holder behind.
By this stage, the more dynamic Perera had brought up a 38-ball half-century. He was clumsily dropped on 59 by Nicholas Pooran in the deep but added just five more runs before being run out.
Fernando muscled a pull over the cow corner boundary when Sheldon Cottrell dropped short following a watchful start.
Sri Lanka’s number three had caught the eye against England with a sparkling 49 off 39 balls while he was their joint top-scorer in the heavy defeat to South Africa last time out.
He was a little more measured early on but he and Kusal Mendis still put on 85 in quick time before the latter bunted a return catch to Fabian Allen, who excellently plucked the ball out of the air diving to his right.
Angelo Mathews settled quickly in a cameo 26 off 20 but Fernando, having passed his half-century, was becoming the mainstay, intent on pushing Sri Lanka forwards to a competitive score.
Youngest centurions in World Cup history:— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) July 1, 2019
Paul Stirling – 20 years, 196 days
Ricky Ponting – 21 years 76 days
AVISHKA FERNANDO – 21 years 87 days 👏
Virat Kohli – 22 years 106 days
Sachin Tendulkar – 22 years 300 days #LionsRoar | #SLvWI pic.twitter.com/tedI5feuqW
He had moments of fortune, an outside edge off the wayward Shannon Gabriel dropping short of wicketkeeper Shai Hope while he just about managed to clear mid-on off Holder.
He cleared the boundary off Cottrell once more with a meaty blow over deep midwicket and ran hard to move into three figures for the first time in Sri Lanka colours at exactly a run a ball.
He holed out to long-off off Cottrell, the salute making an overdue appearance, but Lahiru Thirimanne, caught on 14 off an Oshane Thomas no-ball, made a more than handy contribution of 45 from 33 balls.