Sri Lanka A v West Indies A, 1st Test, Dambulla June 25, 2005

Tense final day in prospect

Sri Lanka A 258 and 126 for 2 (Vandort 47*) need 190 more runs to beat West Indies A 295 and 278 (Ramdass 82, Baugh 70, Weerakon 3-58)

Michael Vandort: has a vital role to play on the final day © Getty Images
Sri Lanka A recovered from two early setbacks to play themselves into a winning position at the end of the third day against West Indies A at Dambulla. Chasing 317 runs in four sessions Sri Lanka closed on 126 for 2 Michael Vandot (47) and Russel Arnold (36) sharing an unbeaten partnership of 88.

Sri Lanka require a further 190 off a minimum of 90 overs on the final day to go one-up in the three-match series. It is a target which is well within their reach on a pitch that is still good for batting.

West Indies suffered a vital blow to their chances when their Tino Best left the field after bowling four balls of his seventh over. The extent of his injury, and whether he will be able to bowl tomorrow, was not known.

Best put Sri Lanka in early trouble when they began their run chase in the final session. He forced Avishka Gunawardena to retire hurt at 16 with a quick delivery, which the batsmen failed to get out of the way from and was hit on the right elbow. Then, bowling with fire and pace, he removed Jehan Mubarak and Malintha Gajanayake as he took 2 for 21 in his opening spell of four overs.

However, some promising news did emerge from the Sri Lankan camp as Anura Tennekoon, the team manager, said that Gunawardena's injury was not all that serious and he would resume batting sometime tomorrow.

West Indies progressed steadily for two sessions before they were dismissed for 278 on the stroke of tea and there were two notable contributions, which laid the base for the total. Ryan Ramdass made a solid 82 and there was an equally determined knock of 70 from Carlton Baugh.

But even after they had worked their way through the top-order Sri Lanka were frustrated by Dwight Washington at No. 10. He hung around for over an hour and half, making just 10 runs. Washington's batting enabled his team to add a valuable 76 runs for the last two wickets, extending their lead beyond 300.

When he came in West Indies were only 240 ahead and Sri Lanka would have been in control had they captured the last two wickets quickly. But Washington had other ideas and helped Baugh and Lawson in stands of 41 and 35 runs respectively.