Windies openers defy Sri Lankan pacemen

Published: Friday, April 4, 2008, 23:20 [IST]
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West Indies openers Chris Gayle and Sewnarine Chattergoon held on defiantly on the second day of the second and final Test on Friday reaching lunch on 49-0 in reply to Sri Lanka's first innings total of 278.

Skipper Gayle was not out on 39 with Chattergoon unbeaten on four.

But Sri Lanka twice had a chance to remove Gayle.

On 24, Muttiah Muralitharan did well to fly to his left to try and clutch a powerful cross-batted stroke, but dropped the West Indies captain at mid-on off Ishara Amerasinghe.

Then on 31, Amerasinghe failed to get close to another chance off Thilan Thushara when the left-handed opener swung at a short delivery.

Gayle responded to the challenge with a couple of meaty boundaries.

Sri Lanka had been dismissed 50 minutes before lunch, when Chamara Silva hooking at a short, rising ball from Dwayne Bravo was caught inside the deep fine leg boundary for the top score of 76.

He led a rearguard action for the Sri Lankans to help them add another 61 runs before their innings closed.

Fidel Edwards was the most successful West Indies bowler with four wickets for 84 runs from 18 overs, Daren Powell took two for 59 from 17 overs, and Jerome Taylor ended with two for 74 from 17.2 overs after he was removed from the attack for delivering a second beamer in the innings.

Silva was the recipient of the fast, full, high-pitched delivery from Taylor, after he had struck Tillakeratne Dilshan a painful blow on his right hand the previous evening with a similar delivery.

Sri Lanka had continued from their overnight total of 217 for five, and Dilshan gave them a flourishing start, when he savagely square cut a short, wide, loose delivery from Edwards over backward point for four.

But Dilshan was caught at backward square leg off the third legitimate ball of the morning from the same bowler for 62 miscuing a hook with wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin sprinting 30 yards from his position behind the stumps to complete the dismissal.

Next over, left-hander Chaminda Vaas fell in similar fashion to Powell essaying a hook and Ramdin trotting a few yards to his right to leave Sri Lanka on 224 for seven.

Silva, however, was the man leading the charge for the Sri Lankans, and he reached his 50, when he square drove Edwards through backward point for two.

Sri Lanka might have been in further trouble had Powell grabbed a low, sharp chance from Thilan Thushara, on one, with Sri Lanka 239 for seven.

But the visitors' lanky left-arm fast-medium bowler was run out for one, when he failed to beat Ramnaresh Sarwan's direct hit at the bowler's end from mid-wicket going for a second run.

The Sri Lankan slide continued when Muralitharan was caught at third man when he slashed a delivery from Powell and Bravo ran about 30 yards, and dived to hold a low catch.

Sri Lanka's innings could have ended much earlier, had Taylor held an easy return catch, when Silva, on 70, was deceived by a slower ball and drove the ball back to the bowler.

But Taylor - inadvertently - delivered his second beamer, and Bravo, asked to complete the over, brought the Sri Lanka innings to a close after Silva and last man Ishara Amerasinghe spent close to half-hour frustrating West Indies.

Sri Lanka lead the series 1-0, after they won the opening Test at the Guyana National Stadium by 121 runs.

If they win the Test, Sri Lanka will confirm their first Test series win on Caribbean soil, and become the first side visiting the Caribbean to sweep a Test series of any length.

Read more about: windies, openers, defy, sri, lankan, pacemen
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