Going into the fourth day of the Trinidad Test, West Indies were in danger of slipping to their eighth series defeat in a row, and their tenth loss in the last 11 series. Thanks to Ramnaresh Sarwan's superb 102 and his 157-run partnership with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, though, West Indies swept to the third-largest successful run-chase at this ground, thus denying Sri Lanka their first series win in the West Indies. The result also means Sri Lanka haven't won an away series against a team other than Zimbabwe and Bangladesh since 2000, when they beat Pakistan 2-1. (Click here for Sri Lanka's overseas series since 2000.)
For Sarwan, it capped an excellent series, one in which he topped 50 in every innings. It was a welcome return to form too - in his last 25 innings before this series, he had only scored one century, and averaged 27.20. His fourth-wicket partnership with Chanderpaul is a West Indian record for that wicket against Sri Lanka, and fell just seven runs short of equalling their highest for the fourth wicket in the last innings of a Test.
Overall, Sri Lanka had the slightly better numbers in the series, averaging more runs per wicket, and scoring at a faster rate. West Indies, though, raised their batting standards on the last day of the series to give them their second win in their last five Tests.
The partnership numbers for both teams indicate that both teams had problems with their top-order batting. Marlon Samuels had the lowest average among the West Indians, with 29 runs in four innings, while Tillakaratne Dilshan, Michael Vandort and - more surprisingly - Kumar Sangakkara all had ordinary series for Sri Lanka. (Click here for the series averages for West Indies, and here for the averages for Sri Lanka.)
Sri Lanka's opening pair did a fine job, but West Indies' second-wicket stand was far better, thanks to Sarwan's run-fest. Further down the order, the fourth-wicket partnership was a huge one for West Indies - it helped them level the series - while Sri Lanka relied heavily on Chaminda Vaas' batting prowess at No. 7: their stands for the sixth and seventh wickets were both in excess of 50.
Among the bowlers, this was one series in which Vaas easily outdid Muttiah Muralitharan. Vaas, in fact, had an outstanding all-round series, averaging 19.75 per wicket with the ball and 37.67 with the bat. Murali took as many wickets as Vaas, but each one cost him nearly 33.
West Indies' bowling star was Jerome Taylor, whose 11 wickets at 24.81 took him past the 50-wicket milestone in Tests.
The ability of the West Indies top order to tackle the Murali menace was perhaps the most significant aspect of the series. Sarwan, Chanderpaul and Gayle all handled him with a good degree of success, which made the Sri Lankan attack look far less threatening.
Vaas, on the other hand, was more than a handful for Samuels, but he had less success against long-time bunny Gayle, who fell just once to Vaas in 58 deliveries.