Vaas gives Sri Lanka the edge

A fight back headed by Chaminda Vaas has put Sri Lanka in front at the end of day 2, after the West Indies relinquished the chance to drive home their early advantage.

The day began well for the Sri Lankans with Vaas and Lasith Malinga cleaning up the West Indian tail, dismissing the visitors for 285, an improvement of only 14 runs on the overnight total for the loss of 4 wickets.

It seemed as though Sri Lanka would now be able post a large total and take the tourists out of the game. However, a spirited performance by the West Indian bowlers ensured that wasn’t the case.

An early blast of 3 wickets from the opening pair of Jermaine Lawson and Daren Powell had the Sri Lankans reeling on 32/3 as they struggled to cope with the pace, bounce and movement of the West Indian attack. A second Lawson wicket ensued, sending Kumar Sangakarra (34) to join his teammates Marvan Atapattu (1), Sanath Jayasuriya (3) and Mahela Jayawardene (3) in the pavilion with the score on 47/4.

Some slight resistance came when Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thilan Samaraweera put on a 44-run stand. But when Banks picked up his second wicket, Dilshan for 32, and Samaraweera and Gayan Wijekoon fell to unnecessary shots, the home slide crumbled to 113/7. The West Indian total 285 now seemed unattainable.

Enter Chaminda Vaas. Together with his fellow tail-enders, he put on an extra 114 invaluable runs. Vaas was the chief scorer with 49. The veteran was aided immensely by Rangana Herath (24) and much to the West Indies’ surprise and shock, Muttiah Muralitharan, who was the last to fall for a red hot 36 off 44 balls, ending the innings on 227. Lawson, who managed to claim the last two wickets, ended with 4/59, the best figures of the innings.

The eventual dismissal of the Sri Lankans was not all good news for the visitors, they now had to face Vaas under fading light. The inexperienced top order battled to 3/17 at the close of play, extending the lead to only 75. Vaas claimed two scalps, Xavier Marshall for 2 and Runako Morton for 0, both fell to his famous inswinger. Muralitharan was the other wicket-taker, picking up Sylvester Joseph for 2.

Both sides are still well and truly in this match. Tomorrow is a crucial day and will all but decide which side will come away with the victory.

Score Summary: Stumps – Day 2

West Indies (1st innings): 285 (Chanderpaul 69, Ramdin 56, Malinga 4-71)
Sri Lanka (1st innings): 227 (Vaas 49, Lawson 4-59)
West Indies (2nd innings): 17/3 (Vaas 2-4)

West Indies lead by 75 runs

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