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Sri Lanka hand Windies huge task

First Test, Guyana (day four, stumps):
Sri Lanka 476-8d & 240-7d v West Indies 280 & 96-1

Malinda Warnapura
Malinda Warnapura scored a fluent 62 in Sri Lanka's second innings

Sri Lanka head into day five of the first Test requiring nine West Indies wickets to seal victory in Georgetown.

The Windies are 96-1 in pursuit of a world record victory target of 437.

The hosts narrowly avoided the follow-on when they were bowled out for 280 before Malinda Warnapura continued his excellent form with a superb 62.

That helped Sri Lanka declare on 240-7 and though the Windies saw Devon Smith brilliantly caught by Thilan Thushara, they survived otherwise unscathed.

The hosts' bid for an unlikely triumph will resume with Dwayne Bravo (46) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (34) in the midst of an unbeaten 74-run stand.

Bravo was surprisingly promoted to open the innings in place of captain Chris Gayle, who is without a century in 39 Test innings, but the decision appeared to pay off as the 24-year-old closed in on his 10th Test 50.


West Indies began the day needing eight runs to avoid the follow-on and they only just managed it, adding 11 to their overnight total before Daren Powell got an outside edge to a Thushara delivery and was snapped up by Mahela Jayawardene at second slip.

Sri Lanka opener Warnapura scored his maiden ton in the first innings and looked likely to follow it with another before he chased a short, wide delivery from Dwayne Bravo and thick-edged it to Denesh Ramdin.

Thilan Samaraweera made up for a first-innings duck by compiling an unbeaten 56 off 89 balls with five boundaries.

Left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn took three for 59, including skipper Jayawardene as his maiden test wicket.

Though Chaminda Vaas struck an early blow, Bravo and Sarwan retained the Windies' slim hope of only their second Test win in 24 matches.

The second and final match of the series takes place in Trinidad, starting 3 April.

  • West Indies coach John Dyson:
    "History says that it is possible to get a total like that and it has been done in the West Indies before so you never put that totally out of the question.

    "I think all teams these days look to win wherever possible and if the opportunity to win comes along then we will look to take it.

    "Batting in the first innings I think the guys would admit that they are a little disappointed that sometimes they got themselves out rather than getting out to a really good ball and they are going to work hard in this innings to make sure that doesn't happen again."

    see also
    Sri Lanka put pressure on Windies
    24 Mar 08 |  West Indies
    Gayle dismissal boosts Sri Lanka
    24 Mar 08 |  West Indies
    Warnapura dominates West Indies
    22 Mar 08 |  West Indies
    Sri Lanka in West Indies 2008
    31 Dec 07 |  Cricket

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