Second Test

Sri Lanka v West Indies, 2005

Tony Cozier


At Kandy, July 22, 23, 24, 25, 2005. Sri Lanka won by 240 runs. Toss: West Indies. Test debut: R. R. Ramdass.

After two low-scoring first innings, Sri Lanka asserted their superiority in the second through two Kandy men. Sangakkara's unbeaten 157 was his eighth Test hundred, but his first at the Asgiriya Stadium, the ground of his old school, Trinity College. It set up a spell of typically perplexing spin bowling by Muralitharan, another local boy, who mopped up eight for 46 and hurried Sri Lanka to their second successive victory with more than a day to spare. It was the 46th occasion that Murali - who finished the match with his Test wicket tally on 549 - had claimed five or more in a Test innings, and the 14th time he had taken ten in a match, both records by a distance.

Sri Lanka were shot out for their lowest total in the ten Tests between these teams after being sent in. The pitch encouraged the controlled pace of Powell, who claimed five wickets in an innings for the first time, and Best, who took a wicket with his first ball, flattening Atapattu's off stump. Dilshan threatened to revive the innings with 36, including six fours - three in one over from Best, who got his own back by running him out with a direct hit while following through to his own bowling.

Once again West Indies were set back by Vaas, whose left-arm swing accounted for four of the five wickets that fell on the opening day. Deonarine batted positively for 40 before he drove a return catch to Jayasuriya early on the second morning, and once again it was Best who played with most assurance. He took all five of his fours off Muralitharan, who was recovering from the effects of flu, before he ran out of partners with West Indies still two runs in arrears.

In spite of losing both openers in successive overs, a testing spell from Best and unsettled weather that brought an early close, Sangakkara and Jayawardene built a strong foundation for the second innings with a stand of 98. After two quick wickets from Lawson, Dilshan joined Sangakkara to put the match out of West Indies' reach. By the time Dilshan edged Banks to slip, Sri Lanka were 266 to the good, and Atapattu allowed that to swell to 377 before declaring 40 minutes into the fourth day. Sangakkara remained unbeaten after 284 balls, with 24 fours.

Chanderpaul had to complete the innings without Best, who was banned from bowling by the umpire Tony Hill after his third fast full-pitch, even though Herath smacked it to the boundary. He had earlier sent down similar deliveries to Jayawardene and Sangakkara, and was also no-balled for one in the first innings off which Muralitharan was caught. In the Test on this same ground four years earlier, another West Indian fast bowler, Colin Stuart, had become the first bowler to be taken off for this offence in a Test. Best, who was banned for the same offence twice during the 2004 West Indian domestic season, was fined 50% of his match fee by referee Mike Procter.

Vaas was not around to torment West Indies when they batted again, as he had torn his right hamstring in the first innings. But it was a mixed blessing, as it simply meant that they had to confront Muralitharan earlier than usual - after just nine overs. A mesmerising mixture of flighted off-breaks and contrasting doosras proved too much for the batsmen. Jayawardene pouched four close catches, one that accounted for Chanderpaul off Herath's left-arm spin interrupting Murali's sequence. Deonarine hoisted Muralitharan over mid-wicket for a big six, and Ramdin hit five fours in his 28, but they could not extend the match into the final day.

Man of the Match: K. C. Sangakkara. Man of the Series: W. P. U. J. C. Vaas.

© John Wisden & Co.