Sri Lanka v West Indies, 2nd Test, Colombo, 1st day

Sangakkara, Samaraweera steady after early strikes

The Bulletin by Andrew Fernando

November 23, 2010

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Tea Sri Lanka 81 for 3 (Sangakkara 25*, Roach 2-24) v West Indies
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Kemar Roach dismissed Sri Lanka's openers, Sri Lanka v West Indies, 2nd Test, Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, 1st day, November 23, 2010
Kemar Roach dismissed Sri Lanka's openers © AFP
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A damp outfield and gloomy conditions meant that only 37.2 overs of play were possible on the first day of the second Test at the R. Premadasa stadium in Colombo, as Sri Lanka went to stumps at 84 for three after having won the toss and elected to bat. The West Indies seamers made early inroads into the Sri Lankan line-up to leave them staggering at 34 for 3 but Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera combined to steady the innings, surviving a testing spell of fast bowling to take the hosts to the close of play.

There was plenty of movement and bounce on offer for the West Indies bowlers on the freshly-laid surface at the Premadasa. Kemar Roach in particular, zipped the ball around at pace early in the afternoon and troubled all the Sri Lankan batsmen beating their tentative prods outside the off stump. The visitors looked to make the most of the seam-friendly conditions as thick clouds gathered above the stadium and Darren Sammy employed a packed slip cordon for the fast men throughout the afternoon.

Roach did not have to wait long for his first wicket of the match, dismissing Tillakaratne Dilshan for 10, as the batsman played loosely inside one that jagged away off the pitch to crash into the top of middle stump. Tharanga Paranavitana didn't hang around for long either, edging an away-swinger from Roach to Dwayne Bravo at second slip, after having flirted outside the off-stump during his agonising 45-ball stay.

Sammy, who bowled unchanged for 17 overs, too made things difficult for the Sri Lankan batsman with his steady seamers. He dismissed Mahela Jayawardene with a terrific delivery that cut back between bat and pad to take the off stump and continued to bowl a tight line for the majority of the session, getting the occasional delivery to beat the bat whenever a loose shot was offered. Bravo though, disappointed, as bowled too short to seriously trouble the Sri Lankan batsmen, who were grateful for some respite from Sammy at the other end.

Batting became easier as the session wore on, with both Sangakkara and Samaraweera beginning to look more assured after having survived some nervous moments earlier in the afternoon. Samaraweera especially, looked more at ease as the tea break drew close, hooking a Roach bouncer over square leg for six in the penultimate over of the session, before crashing Suleiman Benn through point a few deliveries later. Just 1.2 overs were bowled, and three runs scored after the tea break, before the umpires decided it was too gloomy to continue. The set pair will look to build a sizeable partnership when play resumes tomorrow to ensure Sri Lanka's recovery continues smoothly.

Andrew Fernando writes for The Pigeon and blogs here

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