The rescheduled one-day leg of West Indies' tour of Sri Lanka got off to a futile start as heavy rain in Colombo forced the abandonment of the first ODI at the SSC. The series had been postponed from December because bad weather had ruined the Test series but the move has had little effect.
Before it began to rain during the lunch break, Adrian Barath scored his maiden ODI century and his partnership with Ramnaresh Sarwan drove West Indies to a competitive total. Their efforts at posting a strong score, however, were undone by lack of contributions from their team-mates and Lasith Malinga's death-over burst, which weakened the platform that had been laid for the acceleration.
The overcast day in Colombo began badly for West Indies when Chris Gayle nicked Nuwan Kulasekara's outswinger in the fourth over, depriving the innings of a potentially rapid start on a placid pitch. Barath and Darren Bravo consolidated and saw off the new ball without further damage. Their partnership was promising when a mix-up ended with Bravo being run out for 8, leaving West Indies 42 for 2. Bravo had backed up too far at the non-striker's end and failed to beat Kapugedera's return from midwicket at the bowler's end.
Sarwan, who was making a comeback to the team after being omitted from the original tour party to Sri Lanka last year, had a point to prove and he did it in some style. Barath and Sarwan steadied the innings, scoring at a healthy pace and rendering Muttiah Muralitharan wicketless during his ten-over spell. Barath was lucky to be let off on 54, when he played uppishly to an Ajantha Mendis delivery and Mahela Jayawardene managed to get his hand to the ball but could not catch it. Otherwise his innings was without blemish. He struck two sixes and eight fours during his 113 off 129 balls, while Sarwan took 100 deliveries to score 75.
West Indies took the batting Powerplay in the 44th over and the recent international trend of wickets falling during the fielding restrictions continued. Both Barath and Sarwan fell to Malinga in the first over of the Powerplay and Kieron Pollard followed soon. Malinga had both well-set batsmen caught at wide long-on by Chamara Kapugedera as they tried to take him on, and bowled Kieron Pollard with a well-disguised, slow inswinger. He had ripped out three wickets for three runs off eight balls and West Indies managed only 27 off the Powerplay.
It was left to Darren Sammy to strike a couple of boundaries and provide the late momentum. The weather, however, wiped out any possibility of play after lunch, frustrating both teams.