West Indies topple Sri Lanka

The West Indies came to Colombo needing a win to get their Indian Oil Cup campaign back on track, and they delievered in spectacular style against the home side. Faced with a Sri Lankan attack lacking Chaminda Vaas but still well suited to home conditions, the inexperienced West Indies lineup managed to form partnerships at important stages in the innings and set a competitive target of 227. The backbone of the innings was half-centuries from captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Sylvester Joseph, and some impressive hitting in the final overs gave something for the West Indian bowlers to work with.

Chanderpaul’s move to the top of the order had proved a success, and the other change for the game, the inclusion of second spinner Omari Banks, also proved an excellent move. The young off-spinner put in a fantastic performance in the middle overs, picking up a pair of wickets and conceding just 24 runs from his full quota of overs.

Things did not look so positive early on for the West Indies though, as Tharanga and Jayasuria got Sri Lanka off to a solid start, staying well ahead of the required rate and seeing the inaccurate Tino Best out of the attack. Deighton Butler picked up the vital first wicket when he trapped the veteran Jayasuria in front after 10 overs, but the trigger for Sri Lanka’s woes came a few overs later. Fielding at point, Xavier Marshall took a magnificent one-handed catch off the bowling of Daren Powell to dismiss Sangakkara. From there, medium pacer Dwayne Smith struck two vital blows, first bowling opener Theranga and then trapping Tillekaratne Dilshan in front first ball. At 4/73 Sri Lanka were in trouble, and Smith joined with Banks to strangle the run rate in the middle overs. Struggling to score more than one or two runs an over, the pressure soon told on the home side and captain Jayawardene gave his wicket away trying to hit Banks out of the ground. In the midst of a devastating spell, Banks then picked up Upul Chandana, and Sri Lanka were six down and less than half way to their target. From there it was a matter of routine, with Russel Arnold providing the only significant resistance as the required run rate rose consistently, despite some hitting from Maharoof. The introduction of Narsingh Deonarine brought the wicket of Zoysa, and the last resistance from Sri Lanka disappeared as Arnold became the final wicket to fall.

It was a huge victory for the West Indies, as they performed a rare feat in beating the world number two side at home, and kept themselves alive in the competition ahead of a decisive game against India. It also restored some pride in what had been a hard tour for the inexperienced team so far.

Score Summary

West Indies – 226 (50)
Sylvester Joseph 58 (92), Shivnarine Chanderpaul 57 (79)
Upul Chandana 2/49 (10), Muttiah Muralitharan 1/31 (10)

Sri Lanka – 193 (47)
Russel Arnold 59 (90), Upul Tharanga 25 (60)
Omari Banks 2/24 (10), Daren Powell 2/28 (9)

CricketWeb Player of the Match
Omari Banks – 33 (44) and 2/24 (10)

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