Sri Lanka seal 6-wicket victory

Sri Lanka have claimed a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series versus the West Indies after completing a 6-wicket win on the fourth day.

The West Indies resumed the day in deep trouble on 59/6 with Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Omari Banks at the crease. Muttiah Muralitharan started the day perfectly for Sri Lanka, picking up a pair of wickets before the visitors had managed to add to their overnight total. Banks was caught at bat pad for 7 and Daren Powell fell in the same fashion for a golden duck.

An invaluable partnership of 44 between Tino Best and Chanderpaul ensured that the West Indian total would pass the hundred mark and keep them in the game. Muralitharan broke the partnership with the score on 113 and followed it up with the wicket of Jermaine Lawson. Best was stumped for 27 and Lawson was caught at short fine leg for a fifth ball duck, leaving Chanderpaul stranded at the other end on 48 not out. Muralitharan ended with innings figures of 6/36, restricting the tourist’s overall lead to just 171.

The Sri Lankans began their innings reasonably comfortably, reaching 34 without loss before Lawson placed his side back in the match with a pair of wickets. Sanath Jayasuria slashed a wide ball to backward point, falling for 15. Kumar Sangakarra was out next ball, edging to Sylvester Joseph in the slips. Shortly after, Lawson added Marvin Attapatu to his list of scalps as wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin took a superb catch down the leg side to leave the home side reeling on 49/3.

The Windies were back in the game and an upset victory now seemed to be a serious possibility. However, an 86-run stand between Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera guided the Sri Lankans to victory. Some poor bowling by the tourists, including many half-volleys and full-tosses, ensured a steady flow of boundaries meaning they could never apply any form of real pressure.

By the time Lawson dismissed Samaraweera for 51, the game was already all but decided. Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan finished off the run-chase with ease, scoring 41 and 30 not out respectively.

The 6-wicket win ensures that Sri Lanka cannot lose the series, which now heads to Kandy for the second and final Test beginning on 22 July.

Match Summary:

Sri Lanka 227 (Vaas 49, Lawson 4-59) and 172 for 4 (Samaraweera 51, Lawson 4-43) beat
West Indies 285 (Chanderpaul 69, Ramdin 56, Malinga 4-71, Vaas 3-35) and 113 (Chanderpaul 48*, Muralitharan 6-36, Vaas 4-15) by 6 wickets

Man of the Match: WPUJC Vaas

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