ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
World Cup 2011 warm-up matches
Herath and Sangakkara star in Sri Lanka win
February 15, 2011
Sri Lanka 282 for 6 (Sangakkara 71, Benn 3-40) beat West Indies 281 (Gayle 58, Malinga 3-33) by four wickets
Sri Lanka's batsmen made light work of a tricky chase to give their side a four-wicket win in their World Cup warm-up game against West Indies in Colombo.
West Indies had scrapped to 281 on the back of half-centuries from Chris Gayle and Darren Bravo, but Sri Lanka's batsmen were never rushed as Tillakaratne Dilshan, captain Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera all made half-centuries to guide their team to victory.
Co-hosts Sri Lanka are one of the favourites for the World Cup and are looking to repeat the heroics of 1996 when - as a team of outsiders - they went on to win the trophy. Their victory on Tuesday was built on Lasith Malinga's three wickets and three key scalps for left-arm spinner Rangana Herath.
Malinga struck in the first over, removing Devon Smith. The opening position alongside Gayle is already a problem for West Indies, who have also used Adrian Barath in the position. The early wicket brought Darren Bravo to the crease and he combined with Gayle to give West Indies their most productive passage of the match. The pair rushed to 88 by the 12th over, with Gayle cracking eights fours and a six, before he fell to Muttiah Muralitharan for 58 from 38 deliveries.
It was Muralitharan's only wicket of the innings but was probably the most important to fall. Darren Bravo then found useful support from Ramnaresh Sarwan, who is showing good signs of form on his return to the side, but Herath struck twice in two overs to remove both. Some breezy lower-order batting from Darren Sammy (21), Carlton Baugh (29) and Andre Russell (19*) lifted the total to 281.
"We should have scored more runs than we did, because we were well placed after 15 overs and then got some key wickets when they chased," Sammy said. "But we didn't finish it off, that's what we should do when we play the main tournament."
What should have been a competitive total was made easy with Upul Tharanga and Dilshan getting Sri Lanka off to a bright start. Dilshan was typically flamboyant, striking three sixes and five fours in his 50-ball 62. With Kemar Roach rested, West Indies' pacemen suffered - Andre Russell and Dwayne Bravo both coming in for fearful punishment. The spinners fared much better with Sulieman Benn taking the first of three wickets when he had Tharanga out.
It brought Sangakkara to the crease and he silkily worked his way to 71 from 89 balls, hitting just four boundaries to lay the foundations for the chase. After he fell Samaraweera took the responsibility and rotated the strike skilfully to make 55 at almost a run a ball before some late-order biffing from Chamara Kapugedera saw Sri Lanka over the line.
"It's good to have won both the warm-up matches," Sangakkara said after the match. "I think there is still a lot of work to be done, mainly the first 15 overs. I think we should have chased it down with one or two wickets less than we did, but I think mentally we are slightly better chasing under lights now probably than a few years ago."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.