Chanderpaul The Hero In Last-Ball West Indian Victory
Sri Lanka 235-7 (Kapugedera 95, Silva 67, Bravo 4-32) v
236-9 (Chanderpaul 62no, Gayle 52, Mendis 3-39)
West Indies won by one wicket and lead the three-match series 1-0
By Aaron Kumar
Shivnarine Chanderpaul hit the last ball of the first One Day International between West Indies and Sri Lanka in Trinidad for a six to seal an incredible one-wicket win for the home side.
Chris Gayle and Chanderpaul's both hit half-centuries but Sri Lanka were back in charge of the game before Chanderpaul's remarkable last stand, when, needing ten to win from two balls, he hit Chaminda Vaas for a four down the ground then a six over midwicket to seal the win.
Half-centuries for Chamara Silva (67) and Chamara Kapugedera (95) had earlier helped Sri Lanka recover from 49 for five to post 235 for seven, but whilst they looked to have recovered from a position of being down and out to post a winning score, Chanderpaul's heroics enabled his side to come back from an equally, if not more, dire predicament.
Chasing 236 for victory the West Indies made a solid start to their run chase. Openers Gayle and Devon Smith played contrasting roles. Smith seemed prepared to work the ball into the gaps, while Gayle on the other hand was typically aggressive in his approach early on.
Smith was the first wicket to fall for the West Indies when he was adjudged lbw off the bowling of Nuwan Kulasekara for 14, replays show that the ball was pitching fractionally outside leg stump. Nevertheless Smith had to depart and his wicket left the West Indies 53 for one in the 14th over.
The in form Ramnaresh Sarwan replaced Smith at the wicket, Sarwan scored three half centuries and a century in the recently concluded Test Series against Sri Lanka, and he began in the same vein here with some well timed shots all around the ground.
Gayle brought up his 35th ODI half century in the 23rd over as he worked a single off his pads off the bowling of the debutant Ajantha Mendis.
Mendis soon got his revenge, however, when he trapped Gayle LBW for 52 to earn his first international wicket.
Sarwan fell just a few balls later when he was caught by Sangakarra off the bowling of Kulasekara for 35. Marlon Samuels then fell for a first ball duck and Sri Lanka were back in the game.
Dwayne Bravo and Chanderpaul went on something of a counter-attack as the West Indies reached 140 for four after 32 overs.
The partnership between Bravo and Chanderpaul went past 50 and appeared to be putting the West Indies on top once again before a dreadful misunderstanding between the two batsmen saw Bravo run out for 36 in the 39th over with the score 169 for five.
Patrick Browne (15) hit a massive six off the bowling of Dilshan to bring up the West Indies 200. However, he was caught on the long on boundary off the very next ball when looking to hit another maximum.
Daren Sammy didnï¿½t last long, he played down the wrong line to a delivery from Mendis and was bowled for one. Victory appeared to be slipping away from the home side, but Jerome Taylor hit a huge six off the bowling of Mendis, and then much like Browne, was out the very next ball trying a repeat.
Taylor fell for nine and his wicket left the West Indies 219 for eight, requiring 17 runs from the last two overs of the game.
Sulieman Benn failed to score off the first four balls he faced but he did hit the fifth ball of the over, but was run out by a direct hit by Jayawardene, this left the West Indies 219 for nine and needing a very difficult 17 from the last seven balls.
The equation got even more difficult as the West Indies required 10 off the last two balls, but a huge six from Shivnarine Chanderpaul off the last ball of the game saw the West Indies home to an epic one wicket victory.
Chanderpaul finished with 62 from 63 balls, and the West Indies now take a one nil lead into the second ODI on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka recovered from 49 for five to post a competitive 235 for seven, courtesy of a partnership of 159 between Chamara Silva (67) and Chamara Kapugedera (95).
Man of the match Bravo was the pick of the bowlers for the West Indies with figures of four for 32.
Fidel Edwards gave the home side the perfect start when he bowled debutant Mahela Udawatte for nought with a beautiful inswinging yorker in the second over of the game.
Kumar Sangakkara replaced Udawatte at the crease and the wicket-keeper-batsman appeared intent on playing in a very positive fashion as he scored runs all around the wicket at a very good rate.
Just as it looked as though the partnership between Sangakkara and Upul Tharanga was putting the tourists into a decent position, Sangakkara was caught at backward point by Bravo off the bowling of Taylor for 23 off just 24 balls.
Tharanga followed Sangakkara back to the pavilion in the very next over; the left handed opener was attempting an expansive cover drive off the bowling of Bravo, but only succeeded in getting an inside edge onto his stumps. Tharanga fell for ten and his wicket left Sri Lanka reeling at 40 for three.
Much rested on the partnership between Silva and captain Mahela Jayawardene if Sri Lanka were to get back into the game.
However, Jayawardene chased a ball outside off stump from Bravo and hit it straight to Shivnarine Chanderpaul in a dismissal very similar to that of Sangakkara.
Jayawardene fell for just a single and his wicket left Sri Lanka in tatters at 41 for four in the 13th over.
Bravo picked up his third wicket when Tillakaratne Dilshan edged straight to Patrick Browne for two, leaving Sri Lanka 49 for five in the 15th over and in serious danger of being bowled out long before their allotted 50 overs.
Kapugedera joined Silva at the wicket after the fall of Dilshan, and the duo set about repairing Sri Lankaï¿½s innings with some good running between the wickets and by putting away the bad balls that came their way. Sri Lanka were 67 for five after 20 overs and needed this partnership to continue if they were to post a defendable total.
The 50 partnership between Kapugedera and Silva was raised off the last ball of the 29th over when the pair ran through for a leg bye and Sri Lanka found themselves 102 for five after 30 overs.
Kapugedera flicked Edwards towards fine leg for a single in the 40th over to bring up his third ODI half century and the single also brought up the 100 partnership between Kapugedera and Silva.
Silva registered his tenth ODI half-century a few balls later with a glorious square cut for four and Sri Lanka were 158 for five after 40 overs.
Kapugedera hit a huge six over the long on off the bowling of Sulieman Benn to bring up the 200 for Sri Lanka and the 150 partnership between Kapugedera and Silva in the 46th over.
The partnership was finally broken when Silva was well caught by Gayle for 67 off of Bravo, who finished with career-best figures.
Kapugedera fell to the penultimate ball of the innings lbw off the bowling of Edwards for 95.
The West Indies had won the toss and elected to field.
ï¿½ Cricket World 2008