October 4, 2000

West Indies struggle against Zoyza

The West Indies seemed to be headed for an early return to the Caribbean as their top order collapsed against Sri Lanka in the second preliminary match of the ICC KnockOut 2000 tournament at the Gymkhana Club Ground on Wednesday.

Needing 288 to win, the first four West Indians fell for 41 and a fifth at 75 as the 1996 World Cup champions took a firm grip on the match. At the mid-point of the innings, the West Indians were 106 for six.

Courtney Browne appeared to have signalled the West Indian intentions in the second over of the innings when he thumped Nuwan Zoysa high over mid-on for six, but the bowler had his revenge in his third over when Browne flashed at a wide one to be caught at the wicket. The first wicket had fallen on 34 with Browne out for 15.

Three runs later, the West Indies were two down. Sherwin Campbell, captaining the side for the day in the absence of the injured Jimmy Adams, was beaten to the bowler's end by Russell Arnold's underarm throw from cover as he scampered for a quick single.

And then Sri Lanka struck their most telling blow as Zoysa found the outside edge of Brian Lara's bat and the West Indies' biggest gun was gone for 5. At 41 for three, 288 seemed a long way off.

It looked even further when Zoysa grabbed his third wicket in his next over, Sylvester Joseph brushing another catch to Romesh Kaluwitherana down the leg-side. The wicketkeeper had had a hand in all three of Zoysa's wickets, and the West Indies' hopes of staying in the competition were fast dissolving.

Wavell Hinds and Marlon Samuels added 34 for the fifth wicket, but with Muttiah Muralitharan now operating from the Forest Road end, pressure began to build and Samuels eventually succumbed, hitting a return catch to Pramodya Wickramasinghe for 19.

Hinds followed in Wickramasinghe's next over when tried to clear the midwicket fence but was well held by Mahela Jayawardena, running around just inside the boundary rope.