Monday 24 March 2008 

Sarwan Half-Century But Sri Lanka On Top In Guyana

Sri Lanka 476-8 declared (M Jayawardene 136, Warnapura 120) v
West Indies 252-9 (Sarwan 80) on day three in Georgetown


Ramnaresh Sarwan compiled a fine half-century on his return to Test cricket, but otherwise Sri Lanka were the happier side on day three of the first match against West Indies in Georgetown as they took seven wickets to leave their hosts in danger of missing the follow-on target of 277.

Prasanna Jayawardene and Thilan Thushara combined to remove Devon Smith and Marlon Samuels in the first hour to maintain Sri Lanka's grip on the game before three wickets from Muttiah Muralitharan and two from Chaminda Vaas left West Indies in some trouble.

Restarting on 29 for one, Devon Smith (14) and Sarwan advanced the score to 46 before Smith edged Thushara to wicket-keeper Jayawardene to give the left-armer his first Test wicket.

Samuels departed in similar circumstances and was well caught by Jayawardene in front of first slip as he unnecessarily chased a wide one to end a brief stay at the crease in which he scored five runs.

Sarwan, meanwhile, looked at complete ease and West Indies were desperate for him and fellow Guyanese Shivnarine Chanderpaul to compile a large partnership, but it wasn't to materialise on this occasion.

The pair had added 41 when Chanderpaul played Muttiah Muralitharan straight into the hands of silly Malinda Warnapura at mid-on. He had made 23, but at least Sarwan had by then moved to his 27th half-century to further emphasise his control over his own game.

Sri Lanka missed a chance to leave West Indies reeling at lunch, however, when Mahela Jayawardene put down a simple slip catch which would have seen Dwayne Bravo out for one. It made little difference as Muralitharan had him trapped in front in the first over after tea, Bravo on his way for eight having never looked comfortable in the middle.

Ryan Hinds, batting with a runner, stayed with Sarwan to put on the first half-century partnership of the innings to halt Sri Lanka's charge before Sarwan was well caught at the second attempt by Prasanna Jayawardene standing up to Vaas. Sarwan had made 80 before trying to drive Vaas through the covers and departed after 23 successive deliveries had passed without scoring. The right-hander faced 199 balls, hit six fours and put on 53 with Hinds.

Hinds (37) was dismissed shortly after tea with Prasanna Jayawardene taking a fourth catch to give Muralitharan his third wicket. Just as Denesh Ramdin (38) and Sulieman Benn (28) were looking as if they would put their side in a good position to avoid the follow on, Ramdin gave Vaas a third wicket of the innings, Kumar Sangakkara taking the catch before Benn was run out by Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Sri Lanka declared their innings on 476 for eight after Mahela Jayawardene and Warnapura scored centuries on days one and two.

© Cricket World 2008

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