Kumar Sangakkara hits out on his way to success for Sri Lanka
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West Indies were comprehensively outplayed by Sri Lanka in the third match of the Indian Oil Cup at Dambulla. Marvan Atapattu read the conditions perfectly, batted well within himself to help set a more-than-decent target of 242, assisted by Kumar Sangakkara. Atapattu then led his team on the field as they dismantled West Indies with a clinical performance to win by 50 runs. As West Indies' top order collapsed, Dwayne Smith thumped 68 late on, but his battling stand was never going to alter the result.
The pitch being used for this match has already staged one game - the opener between India and Sri Lanka - and so wore a dry look. With cracks threatening to open up, Atapattu had no hesitation in choosing to bat when he won the toss and although the young opener Upul Tharanga - on debut - fell early, Sri Lanka consolidated.
Sangakkara and Atapattu have a wealth of experience to fall back on, especially when it comes to playing at home. They quickly sensed that this was not a pitch where it was easy to attack from the word go, and so bided their time as Deighton Butler, the left-arm seamer, bowled a tidy spell first up. Once Butler was seen off, though - with the highly respectable figures of 10-2-25-2 - Sri Lanka could afford to take some chances.
But it was only after they had 100 on the board, and Sangakkara 50 to his name, that the aggressive shots were unveiled. Sangakkara decided to take on the part-time bowlers, especially Narsingh Deonarine, and the runs started to flow more freely. Lofted shots on both sides of the wicket fetched boundaries over a fast outfield and West Indies could do little against two well-set batsmen.
Eventually it was Deonarine who struck, breaking the 138-run third wicket partnership, when he had Sangakkara caught by Shivnarine Chanderpaul at cover attempting to clear the field (149 for 2). Dilhara Lokuhettige, who struck the ball so cleanly in the first match against India, was promoted up to No. 4, no doubt to have a go at the bowling. His intentions were clear from the off, but his execution was less than spectacular, and a clumsy attempt to heave Deonarine for a huge six resulted in a stumping for Denesh Ramdin (171 for 3).
Atapattu was the next to go, soon after the 40th over, when he pushed hard for two to long-off after a fumble from Butler, and was found well short by a good throw to the wicketkeeper's end (191 for 4). The late flurry of wickets helped West Indies restrict the damage, and the fielders were visibly perked up but Upul Chandana and Russel Arnold then helped themselves to what they could. Without losing further wickets, Sri Lanka reached 241 for 6 in 50 overs.
That was more than half of the battle won - putting a score on the board - on a pitch that had a bit in it, and against an inexperienced batting line-up. When West Indies came out to bat they batted in opposite fashion to their more accomplished opponents. Ryan Ramdass went for an expansive drive and played on, Xavier Marshall flirted with a late outswinger and was caught behind, and West Indies were 18 for 2.
Sylvester Joseph then flicked a leg-stump half-volley straight down Maharoof's throat at fine-leg, only to see the chance grassed. Two balls later he attempted the same shot to an identical ball and this time Maharoof ran in well and took a diving catch (31 for 2). If ever there was an indication that these young West Indian players were approaching the game all wrong, this was it.
Chanderpaul needed to show the way, but could not, spooning a simple return catch to Lokuhettige and West Indies were down and out at 36 for 4. Maharoof continued in fine vein, sending Ricardo Powell back for only 2, bowled off the pad (39 for 5). Maharoof finished with the impressive figures of 3 for 9 from 10 overs, and Atapattu moved in for the kill.
Narsingh Deonarine (23) provided fleeting resistance but chopped Dilhara Fernando onto his stumps as West Indies slumped to 75 for 6. The tail wagged, led by the astonishing Smith who audaciously hit the ball to all parts for 68, with 9 fours and 2 sixes. It only made a cosmetic difference, however, Smith and co. may have pushed the score on to 191, reducing the margin of defeat to 50 - but the result was never in question.
How they were out
Upul Tharanga lbw b Butler 6 (11 for 1)
Missed a pull and adjudged lbw
Kumar Sangakkara c Chanderpaul b Deonarine 79
(149 for 2)
Holed out to cover
Dilhara Lokuhettige st Ramdin b Deonarine9 (171 for 3)
Big heave and miss
Marvan Atapattu run out (Butler/Ramdin) 70 (191 for 4)
Caught short of the crease after attempting a second on the misfield
Mahela Jayawardene b Smith 16 (194 for 5)
Played round a full one
Tillakaratne Dilshan run out (Smith) 4 (205 for 6)
Direct hit from point to a risky single
Ryan Ramdass b Maharoof 1 (4 for 1)
Dragged a wide one onto his stumps
Xavier Marshall c Sangakkara b Maharoof 6 (18 for 2)
This edge to a late outswinger
Sylvester Joseph c Maharoof b Lokuhettige 9 (31 for 2)
Flicked to fine-leg
Shivnarine Chanderpaul c & b Lokuhettige 14 (36 for 4)
Spooned a catch to the bowler
Ricardo Powell b Maharoof 2 (39 for 5)
Bowled off the pad by a ball that came in
Narsingh Deonarine b Fernando 23 (75 for 6)
Chopped a lifting ball back onto his stumps
Denesh Ramdin b Chandana 29 (121 for 7)
Bowled trying to heave the ball to the leg side
Tino Best lbw b Muralitharan 1 (128 for 8)
Trapped in front by a sharp offbreak
Dwayne Smith b Muralitharan 68 (177 for 9)
Blocked a big offbreak back onto his stumps
Jermaine Lawson st Sangakkara b Dilshan 8 (191 for 10)
Had a wild heave and missed.
Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Cricinfo