West Indies lurched a step closer to leaving their own World Cup as Sanath Jayasuriya’s 115 condemned them to a 113-run defeat in front of a rare full house in Guyana. He and Mahela Jayawardene added 183 then early wickets buried West Indies’ chase before it had barely begun, Jayasuriya adding three to his outstanding innings.
After their heart-stopping defeat against South Africa, Sri Lanka’s Super Eights campaign is back on track. From the moment Jayasuriya cut loose following a cautious start it was all one-way traffic. West Indies’ fielding turned into a shambles with dropped chances and fumbles as their World Cup dreams were left hanging by a thread. Even three straight wins - on current form and attitude an unlikely prospect - might not be enough unless other results go their way.
If they were going to make any impression on the target it would have needed a major contribution from Chris Gayle, Brian Lara or preferably both. Instead, they were among three wickets to fall inside the first 11 overs. Gayle found it tough to pick up Lasith Malinga’s action and, tied down for 21 balls, tried to launch him over mid off but was well held by Dilhara Fernando who back-peddled two thirds of the way to the boundary.
The move to bring Dwayne Bravo up the order smacked more of panic and uncertainty than any real planning. Chaminda Vaas, cutting back his pace and concentrating on cutters, squeezed one through his defence leaving Lara to enter to a familiar scene. Unlike against Australia where he at least managed some personal success amid the wreckage, here he lasted just four balls. Vaas’s canny spell, with Kumar Sangakkara stood up to the stumps, brought his downfall, although all the credit must go to some outstandingly sharp glovework from Sangakkara.
The innings was left in the hands of a Guyanese pair, Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, but they couldn’t find the boundary, 103 balls elapsing between fours. It was a depressing lack of intent until, with 20 overs remaining and 205 needed, it suddenly dawned on them that these matches can’t be drawn. A brief dart at Muttiah Muralitharan and Jayasuriya followed, but it was far too late despite Chanderpaul’s five sixes in the arc between long on and deep square-leg.
The demeanour of West Indies throughout the day spoke volumes of a team that is anything but a unit. Even Lara didn’t appear to have it in him to motivate his players, the behind-the-scenes issues no doubt still on his mind. In comparison Sri Lanka showed their confidence is still high, despite having to bat when conditions were at their toughest following a 45-minute delayed start.
Responding to pressure from the West Indian new-ball attack Jayasuriya eked his way to 14 off 33 balls. But suddenly, as is the ability of the high-class limited-overs player, he picked his moment and opened the shoulders. He targeted the medium pace of Dwayne Smith who went for 18 in his third over, including one glorious straight six. The pressure told on the fielders, who became increasingly ragged, and after a promisingly upbeat start West Indian shoulders slumped and frowns returned.
In 16 balls, Jayasuriya added 36 to reach his half-century and even the normally reliable offspin of Gayle couldn’t stem the flow. Jerome Taylor, after a tight start to his second spell, came in for some harsh treatment with Jayasuriya swinging a huge six over long on, launching the second half of his innings. Ian Bradshaw was taken for two more maximums and his 25th ODI century came off 86 balls.
The efforts took their toll on Jayasuriya who felt the effects of high humidity and increasingly struggled to find the middle of his bat. It was little surprise when he dragged Daren Powell into his stumps to end a stand of 183 in 30 overs with Jayawardene. The wicket should have been the lift West Indies needed, but the pale celebrations with signs of a team already broken.
Jayawardene’s innings was just as vital for Sri Lanka, and the captain himself. In 17 World Cup matches before today he’d averaged just 18 and his form in the Caribbean had been patchy after his 85 against Bermuda. The first boundary took 69 balls, but when he was horribly dropped at deep midwicket by Smith, on 79, a first World Cup century was his for the taking until beaten by one of Bravo’s slower-ball specials. But it was about the only thing that didn’t go for the Sri Lankan captain; what Lara would give for a team playing with such verve and confidence.
Source:Cricket WorldcupMore on:Dwayne Bravo, Guyana, Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Super Eights, West Indies, World Cup
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Monday, April 2nd, 2007 and is filed under Cricket.
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