Tuesday 15 April 2008 

Rain Denies Sri Lanka Chance Of Consolation Win


Sri Lanka 257-8 (Udawatte 73, Dilshan 64, Gayle 2-41) v
West Indies 81-2 (Chattergoon 46) in St. Lucia

Match abandoned; West Indies win the three-match series 2-0
By Aaron Kumar

The third and final One Day International between the West Indies and Sri Lanka was abandoned due to rain. Chasing 258 to win, the West Indies were 81 for two after 18.2 overs when play was suspended in St. Lucia.

Contrasting half-centuries from Mahela Udawatte and Tillakaratne Dilshan had set West Indies a stiff target of 258 to win.

Sewnarine Chattergoon and Runako Morton, opening in place of Chris Gayle, who appeared to injure a groin while fielding, made a positive start, Chattergoon in particular made his intentions clear by hitting a glorious square cut and a blistering straight drive, before smashing the in form Nuwan Kulasekara over mid-wicket for six.

Chattergoon brought up the West Indian 50 by hitting a wonderful straight drive for four off the bowling of Chaminda Vaas.

In desperate need of a breakthrough, Mahela Jayawardene turned to debutant Thilan Thushara and he provided the wicket that Sri Lanka needed with his first ball in ODI cricket as he had Morton caught behind for 17. Morton�s wicket left the West Indies 54 for one in the ninth over.

Morton's wicket, brought Ramnaresh Sarwan to the crease and he was content to work the ball around, while Chattergoon continued to play in a very aggressive manor. The home team were 77 for one after 15 overs.

Vaas who was very expensive early on came back to remove Chattergoon, the Guyanese batsman was caught by wicketkeeper Sangakkara for 46 off 53 balls. Chattergoon�s wicket meant that the West Indies were 77 for two in the 16th over.

Rain forced play to be suspended with the West Indies 81 for two after 18.2 overs. In ODI cricket both teams have to face 20 overs in order for there to be a result and initially it didn�t seem as though there would be a danger of the West Indies not facing the ten more balls that they needed to face to constitute a result. However the rain got heavier and the outfield became too damp, all of which led to the game being abandoned as a no result.

Earlier, the tourists were put in to bat and lost three early wickets before Udawatte (73), playing an anchoring innings, forged half-century partnerships with Chamara Kapugedera (40) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (64) to fight back. Dilshan accelerated towards the end of the innings, and aided by a cameo of 41 from Kaushalya Weeraratne, he put Sri Lanka in the driving seat after they had been asked to bat by Chris Gayle for the third match in a row.

Gayle himself bowled an economical spell, returning two for 41, taking the crucial wickets of Kapugedera, caught and bowled, and Udawatte, stumped down the leg side by Denesh Ramdin.

Daren Powell enjoyed his 30th birthday by taking figures of two for 51 and pulling off a spectacular catch to dismiss Mahela Jayawardene.

Kumar Sangakkara was promoted to open the innings, however the experiment did not prove to be a fruitful one for Sri Lanka, as he was caught at cover by Daren Sammy off the bowling of Darren Powell for just a single.

Jayawardene looked confident early on, hitting a glorious six over long on off the bowling of Jerome Taylor.

Jayawardene did have a slice of good fortune, however as he survived a huge appeal for caught behind off the bowling of Taylor, and replays show there was some bat involved.

The Sri Lankan skipper was not able to capitalise on the opportunity that was presented to him as he was brilliantly caught by Powell at short fine leg off the bowling of Dwayne Bravo for 17.

Chamara Silva was soon caught down the leg side off the bowling of Powell for six, and his wicket meant that Sri Lanka were 44 for three after 12 overs and in some trouble.

Then came the recovery, led by Udawatte, looking in good touch, as he struck some exquisite boundaries, as well as a massive six over mid wicket off the bowling of Bravo.

Udawatte was given good support by Kapugedera as the duo set about rebuilding. Udawatte worked Chris Gayle off his pads for a couple of runs to bring up his first ODI half century in just his third game, as Sri Lanka continued their revival but just as the partnership was threatening to take the game away from the West Indies Kapugedera presented Gayle with a simple return catch.

Kapugedera�s dismissal ended a partnership of 84 between himself and Udawatte and it left Sri Lanka 128 for four after 30 overs.

Dilshan and Udawatte continued to keep the scoreboard moving, by virtue of some positive running between the wickets and by putting away the bad balls that came their way.

Udawatte seemed set for a maiden ODI century but he was brilliantly stumped by Denesh Ramdin off a wide by Gayle in the 40th over.

Gayle appeared to sustain a groin injury while fielding in the final ten overs of Sri Lanka�s innings and had to be helped off the field by the team physio and Runako Morton - given the way he struggled to leave the field, there was a huge question mark as to whether he would be able to bat.

Dilshan subsequently brought up his 14th ODI half century from just 47 balls and some late big hitting by Dilshan and Weeraratne took Sri Lanka past 250, Dilshan smashing Bravo for a huge six over long on to bring up the Sri Lankan 250. However, looking to repeat the shot he holed out for a wonderfully made 64 off just 54 balls.

Weeraratne was bowled by Taylor in the final over of the innings, as he moved across to off side to give himself room but was comprehensively beaten having occupied just 33 balls for his 41.

Sri Lanka closed their innings on 257 for eight, an excellent effort having been 44 for three at one stage, and given the fact that the average score on this ground is 246, the home side was to have a battle on their hands if they were to inflict their first white wash on a Test playing nation in 13 years before the rain denied them their chance.

Kieron Pollard and Runako Morton came in for the West Indies as Fidel Edwards was rested and Shivnarine Chanderpaul was unwell. Sri Lanka dropped opening batsman Upul Tharanga with bowler Thilan Thushara his replacement.

West Indies held an unassailable 2-0 series lead going into the match.

� Cricket World 2008

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