Fidel Edwards enjoys fairytale debut

The Wisden Bulletin by Wisden CricInfo staff

June 27, 2003

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West Indies 4 for 0 trail Sri Lanka 208 all out (Sangakkara 75, Edwards 5-36) by 204 runs

Fidel Edwards enjoyed a fairytale start to his Test career, claiming five wickets in only his second first-class match, as Sri Lanka were bowled out for a paltry 208 on the opening day of the second Test at Sabina Park.

Some resolute defence from Kumar Sangakkara, plus five dropped catches and a generous sprinkling of extras, allowed Sri Lanka to keep a toe in the game, but that could not take the gloss off a day that belonged emphatically to Edwards and West Indies.

Edwards, a 21-year-old Barbadian plucked from obscurity for this deciding Test, started the day as Brian Lara's second-change bowler. But he won the confidence of his captain with a nerveless performance in the morning, when he bowled with pace and hostility. Rewarded with the second new ball in the evening, Edwards didn't disappoint, claiming the last four wickets as Sri Lanka collapsed in a heap. Edwards finished with 5 for 36.

Had it not been for Sangakkara, who received scant support from his top-order colleagues, Sri Lanka's predicament would have been dire. He should have been Jerome Taylor's first Test victim before lunch, but Taylor couldn't hold on to the sharp return catch, and in the afternoon Vasbert Drakes found the edge, but the ball flew between the wicketkeeper and Brian Lara at first slip.

Sangakkara capitalised on his good fortune, grafting hard for his four-and-a-half-hour 75 - his 12th Test fifty. Chaminda Vaas, who had also batted resolutely in the opening Test, gave him excellent support after Sri Lanka had slumped to 140 for 6 at the stroke of tea. The pair chiselled out 52 runs for the seventh wicket.

But Edwards ended Sangakkara's resistance immediately after taking the second new ball. Sangakkara misjudged the line of the ball and played no shot to a straight delivery to be trapped plumb in front (192 for 7).

Thilan Thushara Mirando - another debutant - Muttiah Muralitharan and Prabath Nissanka then fell in quick succession. Vaas was left stranded, having faced 80 deliveries for his 12 runs. West Indies survived the two overs before close without too many alarms.

Earlier, Lara's decision to put Sri Lanka in to bat after winning the toss paid rich dividends as Corey Collymore and Drakes removed Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvan Atapattu in their opening spells. Jayasuriya was the first to go, caught by Ridley Jacobs off Collymore for 26 (38 for 1).

Atapattu, who scored a century in the opening Test, contributed just 15 this time as he was well caught by Chris Gayle at second slip off Drakes to leave Sri Lanka tottering on 48 for 2. Mahela Jayawardene (10) fell on the stroke of lunch, caught by a diving Gayle in the slips to become Edwards's first Test victim (77 for 3).

Hashan Tillakaratne should have gone shortly after the resumption as he flashed hard at Edwards, but Lara failed to cling on to a catch which came high and hard. Tillakaratne, who never settled, failed to make West Indies pay. Omari Banks was brought into the attack and he immediately struck, getting one to turn and bounce, and Tillakaratne gloved a catch to Lara at first slip for 13 (109 for 4).

Banks struck again to remove Romesh Kaluwitharana for 10 in rather unusual circumstances. Kaluwitharana stepped to leg to make room but was undone by prodigious turn, edging the ball into Jacobs's thigh from where Marlon Samuels dived athletically to grab the rebound (129 for 5).

Kumar Dharmasena hung around but was never at ease, and it came as no surprise when he fended a Colleymore bouncer to Samuels in the gully for 6 (140 for 6). After the tea interval, though, Sri Lanka provided stiffer resistance.

Earlier, both teams had made changes, beefing up their bowling attacks. West Indies discarded Merv Dillon and Daren Ganga for Drakes and Edwards, while Sri Lanka dropped Thilan Samaraweera and Kaushal Lokuarachchi and brought in Kumar Dharmasena and Mirando.

Best WI performances on debutdebut:/link_to_database/ARCHIVE/CRICKET_NEWS/2003/JUN/206195_CI_28JUN2003.html

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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