Vaas double gives Sri Lanka hope of victory

Published: Sunday, April 6, 2008, 22:10 [IST]
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Sri Lanka captured three wickets, with two falling to Chaminda Vaas, to boost their victory chances in the second and final Test against West Indies before rain prompted an early lunch on the fourth day at Queen's Park Oval on Sunday.

At the interval, West Indies, chasing 253 for a series-levelling victory, reached 93 for three in their second innings with Ramnaresh Sarwan not out on 45 and Shivnarine Chanderpaul not out on 13.

Sri Lanka started the day knowing that history was on their side, since West Indies have been successful in only one of their last five run chases at this venue, and that was a decade ago, when they pursued 282 to beat England.

Vaas made sure the challenge was more difficult, when he removed Sewnarine Chattergoon and Marlon Samuels to carry figures of two wickets for 33 runs from 12 overs into lunch.

The hardworking Thilan Thushara, however, produced the breakthrough for Sri Lanka, when West Indies captain Chris Gayle recklessly drove at a delivery of no great merit and was caught at backward point for 10.

Next over, Vaas struck, when he had Chattergoon - who was dropped on one - lbw for 11 playing forward and across a well-pitched delivery moving back from outside the off-stump to leave West Indies 24 for two.

But Sri Lanka's progress was slowed, when the embattled Samuels joined Sarwan at the wicket and they settled the nerves of their team with a stand of 49 for the third wicket.

Sri Lanka came close to breaking the partnership before it had prospered, when Samuels played a ball from Vaas to cover, advanced a few steps, but left Sarwan stranded mid-pitch.

Fortunately for the West Indies vice-captain, Tillakeratne Dilshan's throw at the bowler's end missed.

With Sri Lanka off-spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan now in full flight, captain Mahela Jayawardene brought back Vaas for a second spell from the Queen's Park Cricket Club pavilion end, and he broke the partnership.

Vaas tempted Samuels with a juicy half-volley outside the off-stump and the batsman drove loosely and was caught low down at cover for 11.

Vaas continued to create problems for the batsmen for the remainder of the session, as Sarwan and compatriot Chanderpaul consolidated.

The left-arm fast-medium bowler twice made left-hander Chanderpaul fend-away awkwardly bouncing deliveries into the gully region just short of the close-in fielder.

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

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