Warnapura's 62 helps boost Sri Lanka's lead

Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2008, 1:32 [IST]
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Malinda Warnapura scored 62 to help Sri Lanka accumulate quick runs and build an impregnable position before tea in the opening Test against West Indies on Tuesday.

At the break, Sri Lanka, leading by 196 runs on first innings, were 186 for five in their second innings with Thilan Samaraweera not out on 25 and Chaminda Vaas not out on 10.

Warnapura, one of two century-makers in the Sri Lanka first innings, continued in his rich vein of form and extended his side's lead, after West Indies were dismissed for 280, replying to the visitors' first innings total of 476 for eight declared, about 25 minutes after the scheduled start.

But the left-handed opener was one of four Sri Lanka wickets which fell between lunch and tea, after he edged Daren Powell for the last of his five boundaries through the vacant slip region to reach his 50 in the first half-hour minutes after lunch.

Sri Lanka suffered a setback early in the afternoon period, when Kumar Sangakkara was caught at mid-wicket off Dwayne Bravo for 21, following a second wicket stand of 51 with Warnapura.

Mahela Jayawardene came to the crease to pair the two first innings century-makers, but Warnapura, growing increasingly adventurous, was caught behind off Bravo chasing his ill-directed 91st delivery to end his innings which lasted a little over two hours.

With the Sri Lankans hunting for quick runs, their batsmen played a few ill-advised strokes, and Jayawardene perished, when he was caught at mid-wicket for 33 top-edging a pull to become left-arm spin bowler Sulieman Benn's first wicket in Tests.

In the final half-hour before the break, Tillakeratne Dilshan was adjudged lbw to Taylor for four to leave Sri Lanka on 171 for five, and Samaraweera and Vaas to carry the visitors to tea.

Bravo has been the most successful West Indies bowler with two wickets for 54 runs from 14 overs.

Before lunch, Sri Lanka failed to make West Indies follow-on, after the hosts continued from their bedtime total of 269 for nine.

The visitors knew they had to bat a second time, when Daren Powell edged Muttiah Muralitharan past Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene at slip for three to third man.

After Muralitharan and Vaas, Sri Lanka's two most experienced bowlers, failed to separate the two West Indies tail-enders, Jayawardene turned Thilan Thushara and he responded, when he had Powell caught low down at second slip for 12 leaving Taylor not out on 27.

Thushara ended with three wickets for 59 runs from 20.5 overs, Vaas three for 48 from 25 overs, and Muralitharan three for 112 from 40 overs.

When Sri Lanka batted a second time, they gained another stable foundation from Warnapura and fellow left-handed opener Michael Vandort.

Sri Lanka however, suffered a setback in the final half-hour before lunch, when Vandort was caught down the leg-side for 24 off West Indies captain Chris Gayle, bowling his uncomplicated off-spin.

Sri Lanka are aiming to win their first Test match in the Caribbean having lost two and drawn two in their previous four. The visitors are also eyeing a Test series victory for the first time in the Caribbean.

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