Warnapura powers Sri Lanka before lunch

Published: Saturday, March 22, 2008, 22:06 [IST]
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Malinda Warnapura transported his rich vein of form into the opening Test against West Indies to race to a half-century before lunch and help Sri Lanka make a bright start.

At the interval, Sri Lanka reached 85 without loss in their first innings with Warnapura unbeaten on 53 and Michael Vandort not out on 32, after the visitors chose to bat on the opening day on a hard, easy-paced Guyana National Stadium pitch.

Warnapura entered the Test with scores of 132 and 50 in Sri Lanka's only warm-up prior to the Test against a West Indies Select XI.

He continued to give evidence that he may become a thorn in the West Indies' side, and could be a successor to the retired Sanath Jayasuriya, when he reached his 50 with a back-foot drive through cover off Test newcomer and left-arm spin bowler Sulieman Benn for two.

The closest West Indies came to making a breakthrough was when Benn had a narrow chance to run-out Vandort in the first hour, when he attempted a quick single off Jerome Taylor.

But the two Sri Lanka batsmen kept their composure and plundered the West Indies' bowling, forcing Chris Gayle to new-ball bowlers Daren Powell and Taylor from the attack early.

Sri Lanka omitted Chamara Silva, Ishara Amerasinghe, Chanaka Welegedara, Nuwan Kulasekera from their touring squad, and West Indies sidelined Fidel Edwards, uncapped spin bowler Amit Jaggernauth with uncapped hometown boy Sewnarine Chattergoon not considered because he was ill.

The hosts handed a Test debut to Benn, and he became the 268th player to wear the Maroon Cap.

The second Test between the two sides will be contested from April 3 to 7 at Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad.

The first two of three ODIs will be on April 10 and 12 at Queen's Park Oval and the third ODI will be a day/night affair at the Beausejour Stadium in St. Lucia on April 15.

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