Tue, Jul 01, 2003 - Page 19 News List

West Indies secure a seven-wicket victory


A third-wicket stand of 161 between captain Brian Lara and his deputy Ramnaresh Sarwan powered the West Indies to a seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the second cricket test Sunday.

The home team raced to its victory target of 212 for the loss of just three wickets, with more than two days to spare.

The West Indies won the two-test series 1-0 after the first was drawn in St. Lucia. It was the West Indies' first series victory at home since May last year, when it won a five-test series against India 2-1.

Lara and Sarwan lifted the West Indies from a precarious 50 for two, to 120 at tea, then blasted 91 runs in 11.4 overs.

One run shy of victory, Sarwan drove at Chaminda Vaas and was caught at extra cover. He hit 13 fours and a six in his 81.

Lara singled off Muttiah Muralitharan for the winning run, and finished 80 not out off 90 balls. Beside him was Marlon Samuels on zero.

The West Indies was set to 212 to win after fast bowler Corey Collymore took a career-best seven for 57 to floor the Sri Lankan second innings for 194.

The visitors began the day on 129 for five, but long before lunch Collymore had achieved the best figures by a West Indian at Sabina Park, surpassing the seven for 69 by Wes Hall, the president of the West Indies Cricket Board, in 1960 against England.

Collymore, playing only his third test even though he made his debut four years ago, was named man of the match.

He gained a crucial breakthrough in his second over when he bowled Sri Lanka captain Hashan Tillakaratne for seven.

Allrounders Kumar Dharmasena and Chaminda Vaas shared an enterprising stand of 35 for the seventh wicket, but Collymore switched ends and was rewarded with immediate success.

The Barbadian fast bowler induced an edge from Dharmasena (20) which was snapped up by Lara at first slip, and three balls later, the same combination claimed the dangerous Vaas (21).

Collymore cleaned out the remainder of the lower order as Muralitharan (6) spooned a catch to mid-on, and Thilan Thushara (13) gave Lara a third catch at slip.

Vaas silenced the expectant crowd of 10,000 by claiming West Indies opener Chris Gayle leg before for a duck.

Wavell Hinds and Sarwan made a stand of 49 for the second wicket before Muralitharan hindered the home team's progress by bowling Hinds for 29.

That brought in Lara to join Sarwan, and slowly they tilted the balance back in their favour.

They took tea at 120 for two and simply exploded after the break with a volley of boundaries. The ground erupted with flag-waving fans and loud reggae music blaring from the huge sound systems. Lara was dropped at long leg by Dharmasena on 61 off a top-edged hook from Vaas. But, by then, the result was hardly in doubt.

Sarwan had the chance to hit the winning runs but slashed a catch to cover off Vaas with one needed.

Vaas grabbed two for 54 off 12 overs. But the backup bowlers proved expensive with 15 wicketless overs from Prabath Nissanka, Thushara and Dharmasena costing 99 runs.

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