Wednesday 26 March 2008 

Vaas Takes Five Wickets As Sri Lanka Seal Victory

Sri Lanka 476-8 declared (M Jayawardene 136) & 240-7 declared
West Indies 280 (Sarwan 80) & 315 (Sarwan 72, Vaas 5-61)

Sri Lanka won by 121 runs and lead the two-match series 1-0

Sri Lanka took all nine wickets required on the final day of the opening Test against West Indies in Georgetown, leaving the home side 122 runs short of victory as Chaminda Vaas finished with figures of five for 61.

Chasing an unlikely victory target of 437, West Indies were bowled out for 315 with Ramnaresh Sarwan (72) and Chris Gayle (51 not out) scoring half-centuries but they were not enough to prevent Sri Lanka registering a first Test victory in the Caribbean.

Early in the day both overnight batsmen Dwayne Bravo and Sarwan looked relatively comfortable against the twin spin attack of Muttiah Muralitharan and Rangana Herath.

Bravo completed his tenth half-century in Tests from 77 balls as the pair edged their partnership past the century mark, indicating that West Indies' primary objective was to try to secure the draw.

It was attritional, but compelling cricket, and Sarwan finally moved to his own half-century to the delight of the sizeable Guyana crowd before lunch. He faced 123 balls in scoring his second fifty of the match but soon after Bravo was gone, caught and bowled by Muralitharan for 83.

West Indies lost Devon Smith to a superb catch in the deep last night before Bravo, opening the innings for a change, and Sarwan added 134 for the second wicket.

Sarwan and Marlon Samuels (ten) took the home side to lunch on 170 for two before Samuels departed after adding one run after lunch, nicking Chaminda Vaas to Kumar Sangakkara behind the stumps.

It was if lunch had transformed the game, as before the break West Indies looked in complete control; afterwards Sri Lanka took charge.

A key wicket was to follow soon after when Chanderpaul was bowled off an inside edge by Vaas for three.

The even bigger wicket as far as Sri Lanka were concerned was that of Sarwan's and his 206-ball resistance ended when he was trapped in front by Thushara for 72. With the talisman gone, Ryan Hinds (ten), Denesh Ramdin (one) and Sulieman Benn (seven) were unable to offer any support, as Muralitharan came into his own, even though captain Chris Gayle had reined in his own attacking instincts to try to somehow save the game.

Vaas finished off the match by having Jerome Taylor, who stuck around for his 12 runs, taking the match into its final hour, and Daren Powell, who didn't, for 14, caught by Tillakaratne Dilshan and Muralitharan respectively, leaving Gayle stranded at the other end.

Muralitharan finished with three for 112 having bowled unchanged in the morning session.

Sri Lanka declared their second innings on 240 for seven after bowling West Indies out for 280 in reply to 476 for eight declared first time round.

�We wanted them to play a few shots on this wicket because that�s how we could have created opportunities. That�s why we gave them a target (437) they could have achieved rather than giving them 500 when they would have been in a very defensive frame of mind.

"We gave them a target thinking this is a target they could chase especially since they have shotmakers,� Jayawardene explained after the match.


� Cricket World 2008



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