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Sarwan ton gives WI win over Sri Lanka
April 07, 2008 09:54 IST
A classy century from Ramnaresh Sarwan led West Indies to a six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the second Test on Sunday to tie the two-Test series at 1-1.
Guyanese pair Sarwan (102) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (86 not out) put on 157 for the fourth wicket after West Indies, chasing a target of 253, were in trouble at 73 for three.
The win means West Indies have ended their losing streak of seven consecutive Test series and foils Sri Lanka's hopes of a first series win in the Caribbean.
Sarwan and Chanderpaul turned the innings around with a display of patient and considered batting which was exactly what was required at a delicate stage of an absorbing test match.
"It was a tremendous effort from two senior guys and I was really happy to see them capitalising on things," said West Indies captain Chris Gayle.
"After getting three half centuries in this series, for Sars to go on and get a century was great and Shiv really stepped up," added Gayle, who said the match was a 'must-win' contest for his team.
"There was an extra effort out there, we dug a little deeper and the guys really came along to the party," he said.
Sarwan's century was his 10th in tests but first in nearly two years -- his last came against India on June 22, 2006.
Sri Lanka had pinned their hopes on a breakthrough with the new ball and that was delivered when Tillakaratne Dilshan took a superb catch to dismiss Gayle for 10 when the left-hander tried an ambitious drive off a full-length Thilan Thushara delivery.
Chaminda Vaas then trapped debutant Sewnarine Chattergoon lbw for 11 with a ball that swung into the left-hander, reducing the hosts to 24 for two.
Marlon Samuels and Sarwan added 49 for the third wicket with Sarwan looking in confident form, striking three beautifully timed boundaries off Thushara, before Vaas struck again.
Samuels was caught out by a well-disguised slower delivery and, having committed himself to the drive, his attempt to pull out of the shot was too late to stop the ball flying to Malinda Warnapura who took an excellent low catch.
Sarwan and Chanderpaul batted throughout the afternoon session, taking few changes and utilising some smart running between the wickets.
Sarwan looked confident against Muttiah Muralitharan, using his feet well to counter the spin, while left-hander Chanderpaul played a vital and intelligent supporting role.
"We knew those two were the danger players and they batted really, really well," said Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene.
"We had a few half-chances but couldn't get the breakthrough," he added.
Muralitharan finally got Sarwan, caught bat-pad by Dilshan at silly point, and the West Indies vice-captain was replaced by Devon Smith with just 23 required to win.
Given West Indies' record of batting collapses in recent years some tension remained but Smith settled their nerves with two well-timed fours and the win was in the bag.
The victory is a boost for the hosts ahead of a series of three one-day games which begin on Thursday in Port of Spain.
West Indies' next Test series is against Australia with the first test on May 22 in Jamaica.
Sri Lanka first innings 278 (C. Silva 76, T. Dilshan 62)
West Indies first innings 294 (R. Sarwan 57, M. Muralitharan 5-79)
Sri Lanka second innings 268 (T. Samaraweera 125)
West Indies second innings
Fall of wickets: 1-23 2-24 3-73 4-230
Bowling: Vaas 17-2-52-2, Thushara 12-3-49-1 (w-2, nb-1), Amerasinghe 13-0-43-0, Muralitharan 24.3-4-92-1 (nb-4), C. Silva 2-0-5-0.
West Indies win by six wickets
Series: Draw 1-1.