Tuesday 25 March 2008 

Sri Lanka Declare And Set West Indies 437 To Win

Sri Lanka 476-8 declared (M Jayawardene 136) & 240-7 declared v
West Indies 280 (Sarwan 80, Vaas 3-48, Thushara 3-59) & 96-1

First match in a two-match series

Sri Lanka were unable to prevent West Indies from avoiding the follow on day four of the first Test in Georgetown, but they set them a target of 437 to win after Malinda Warnapura and Thilan Samaraweera scored second innings half-centuries.

The West Indies bowlers did their bit with the bat as their side were bowled out for 280 in reply to 476 for seven declared although they lost opener Devon Smith, trapped in front for ten in the run chase early on.

However, Dwayne Bravo, opening in place of Chris Gayle, on 46 not out, and Ramnaresh Sarwan, on 34, ensured there were no further hiccups before the close and kept West Indian hopes alive as they closed on 96 for one.

Sri Lankan openers Michael Vandort and Warnapura made a confident start to the second innings before Vandort was caught down the leg side by Denesh Ramdin off of the bowling of Chris Gayle for 24, with Sri Lanka on 43 for one in their second innings.

They reached lunch on 83 for one, 274 runs ahead and looking in complete control and under little threat from the West Indian bowlers. Kumar Sangakkara (21) was caught at long on by substitute Fidel Edwards off of Bravo after lunch as Sri Lanka looked keen to press on. Bravo picked up a second when Warnapura edged behind having hit 62.

Sulieman Benn then took his first wicket in Test cricket when Mahela Jayawardene spooned him high into the air and Shivnarine Chanderpaul took a well-judged catch over his shoulder. The Sri Lankan captain had made 33 and another wicket soon followed when Tillekaratne Dilshan (four) was trapped in front by Jerome Taylor.

Sri Lanka went to tea on 186 for five, 382 runs ahead and with thoughts already turning to a possible declaration as they chase a first ever Test win in the Caribbean. It eventually came once Samaraweera, who finished unbeaten on 56, reached his fifty and after Benn took the wickets of Chaminda Vaas (13) and Thilan Thushara (14).

Earlier, Taylor scored an unbeaten 27 balls that spanned 61 balls while Daren Powell hit 12 from 43 balls to deny Jayawardene the option of asking the home side to bat again.

Chaminda Vaas, Thilan Thushara and Muttiah Muralitharan claimed three wickets apiece.

Nevertheless, Sri Lanka secured a first innings lead of 196 which puts them well on top of the game after Jayawardene and Warnapura scored first innings centuries.

Sarwan top scored with a well compiled 80 in the West Indian reply. The decision to open with Dwayne Bravo was attributed to captain Gayle's idea of having a right-hand left-hand combination, although it kept Gayle away from Chaminda Vaas, who has taken his wickets on a number of occasions recently.

"Chris felt that it was a good chance to just have a change in this innings," coach John Dyson explained. "He feels that Bravo is a very positive player, also the thought of having a left hand/right hand opening combination in this innings was something we were thinking about.

"Chris discussed it with me and the vice captain and we said 'if you think that is the way to go we�ll support your decision' and it turned out to be a very good decision from Chris."

� Cricket World 2008

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