Kingston (Jamaica), June 27: Eager to leave their Champions Trophy eliminations behind, hosts West Indies and Sri Lanka will square off here on Friday in the opening match of a Tri-nation One-Day series (Celkon Mobile Cup), which also features an in-form India.
West Indies were eliminated in the group stage of the Champions trophy when they lost to South Africa via Duckworth Lewis method while the Lankans were humbled in the semifinals by eventual champions India.
Sri Lanka had beaten Australia and finalists England en route to the knockout stage while the Caribbeans were disfavoured by luck as weather put paid to their hopes in the 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. The Lankans were forced to leave out injured opener Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Wicket-keeper 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 have not 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 has been labelled a Twenty20 specialist.
Like Champions Trophy, weather is a matter of concern here too and if 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 would 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.
The Caribbean line-up, led by Dwayne Bravo, is full of potent match-winning all-rounders and the home conditions would 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.
"Its 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 to win 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 (captain), 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 (captain), 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.
Match starts at 8PM IST